Music

Swarathma’s new single is a simple reminder, to live

Folk-rock band Swarathma

Folk-rock band Swarathma   | Photo Credit: Dhanush Karunakaran

The beloved folk-rock band’s latest number is simplistic, heartfelt, and a perfect antidote to lockdown anxiety

Art helps. And in times like these, the right song at the right time helps more than most of us can acknowledge or even realise. Swarathma’s latest single ‘Mushkil mein jeena’ was penned to that end, but at a different time, during a different struggle. Yet, it ended up being just the pick-me-up many of us needed during this pandemic.

Says Jishnu Dasgupta, bassist and vocalist, over a phone call: “We had the basic song in place before the lockdown started. Much of it happened around the time of protests all over the country. It was a vitiated kind of atmosphere, and the original thought of the song came at that time. But then, as Vasu [frontman Vasu Dixit] says, we went from the frying pan into the fire. Suddenly the focus was not on the protests anymore. We were faced with a much larger problem, but the song continued to remain relevant.”

Released earlier this month, the song in its essence can be summed in the following lyric: “Mushkil mein jeena na bhoolo; koi geet sunte raho (during difficulties, don’t forget to live; keep listening to a song).” This track aims to be just that song, and manages to make itself felt, through the sheer strength of simplicity in the emotion it projects.

Though most of the song had been completed right before the lockdowns began, the final leg had to be handled by team members from their respective homes. “Shooting the video was a challenge. We decided to feature members of the family, because to be honest, they are the backbone to the artiste. If it is going to be easy to survive this, it will be because of the members of everyone’s family. So we thought this is a great way of including them in a message of solidarity.”

‘Mushkil mein jeena’ is Swarathma’s latest track

‘Mushkil mein jeena’ is Swarathma’s latest track   | Photo Credit: Illustration by Ekta Bharti

Individually shooting with their phones from their homes was “like shooting in the dark,” he says, “We had some basic guidelines: decent light, a plain background: hold up the they lyrics on a piece of paper that we would eventually reuse.”

The final video, edited by a professional who was also under lockdown in his hometown in Madhya Pradesh, shows band members and family — spouses, parents, children — holding up lines of the song with deliberately neutral facial expressions. “It is easy to get carried away with these kinds of things, trying to be cheerful and funny. People are doing that, to cope, but we didn’t feel like doing that. Because it isn’t what we are feeling right now: we are trying to get by. We are trying to tide over this time.”

What he says next about “this time” forms the core message: “There are things that make you who you are. Watering your plants, going for a walk, colouring — some things are familiar to you, as you. All we are saying is, in these times, remember to do and feel those things.”

Swarathma will be Live on The Hindu MetroPlus’ Instagram account, @thehindumetroplus on June 20, 8 pm. The song ‘Mushkil mein jeena’ can be streamed on the band’s YouTube channel.

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Printable version | Jul 16, 2020 4:44:41 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/music/swarathmas-simple-reminder-to-live/article31861022.ece

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