Music

Tribute to the Ganga

Trichur Brothers Thursday. Photo: K.V.Srinivasan   | Photo Credit: K_V_Srinivasan



It is a pretty paean to a troubled river. The music soothes and uplifts as the visuals capture the many moods of the mighty Ganga. The official song of the Government’s Namami Gange project by Trichur Brothers, Srikrishna and Ramkumar Mohan, explores the vastness and the importance of the river. The brothers say the anthem is an attempt at contributing towards the cause of cleaning up the Ganga.

The trailer, which was released on YouTube recently, will be aired on all national channels and the official launch will be held in Delhi soon. Played for the first time at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in Gujarat, it garnered a good response. “It all began with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Madison Square Garden address,” says Srikrishna Mohan. “My brother Ramkumar felt that we needed to do something towards the movement. And we were all equally inspired by the idea. We discussed it with friends in the music circle and the feedback was overwhelming,” he says.

They started work on it almost immediately. While the music and the concept are developed by the brothers, the video is directed by Deepika Chandrasekharan. The arrangement and production is by Prashanth Techno. The vocals are by the brothers and the mridangam is by their father, Trichur R. Mohan.

In one month, the lyrics, the tuning and the arrangement were ready. “When it is a tribute to the Ganga, we thought who better to describe the Ganga than Adi Shankara?” Srikrishna says. Thus, a portion of the Gangashtakam by Adi Shankara, which contains the word ‘Praseetha’ (be pleased with us), was chosen. “It is a huge initiative by the government to restore a historical river’s lost glory. ‘Be pleased with us’ seemed like the perfect prayer to the Ganga,” he adds.

The five-and-a-half minute song has three parts. The first is in Sanskrit (the Gangashtakam), the second part is in Hindi (lyrics by Vayu), which dwells on the plight of the river and how as a nation, we have not taken care of her, and the third part, also in Hindi, is a kind of oath-taking, which urges the entire nation to take it as a duty to preserve and protect the river.

The treatment of the anthem is contemporary, though it is rooted to classical music. “The Ganga flares the passions of the world. It generates a lot of international interest,” Srikrishna says. So, the music has been arranged in such as a way as to fit into world music genre. It has even used the bass guitar to give it a global feel. The mixing and mastering has been done by Navneeth Balachanderan. The orchestra constitutes musicians such as Aalap Raju, Karthik Iyer, Vedanth Bharadwaj, Jeoraj Stanley, D.V. Venkata Subramanian, Vasanth Jayaraman and Josh Mark Raj.

The video, which is currently on YouTube, is a rough-cut version. The comprehensive one is still under production. Many of the scenes have been shot by Deepika at Varanasi, while the Ganga Mahotsav was on. If the “flow” of filming allows, the brothers might even feature in it.

Srikrishna and Ramkumar, who have made a well-defined space for themselves in Carnatic music, are involving in such a cause for the first time. “It is a privilege to be doing something for a national cause. It fills us with a sense of calm and goodness. We have learnt quite a bit about the Ganga through this project and the efforts that are going into it are commendable,” Srikrishna says.

The full song is expected to be released by the first week of September.

Watch the trailer here:

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Printable version | May 15, 2021 4:45:03 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/music/trichur-brothers-sing-paeans-to-the-ganga/article7230661.ece

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