It’s all about an elephant, a story that has been told so many times, a story enacted around us everyday. The elephant, despite best efforts is a tortured being. Gajaayana: A Wildest Walk is an abstract musical account that attempts to recreate the distressed life of an elephant.
The album, which can be heard and bought on www.avigna.org, is by Dubai-based photographer-filmmaker Udaybhanu’s first musical venture. “The album is composed of nearly 400 sound designed tracks and it is a 23 minutes long composition. There are vocals or human sounds contributed by an 80-year-old mahout from Muthanga, Wayanad. His voice was recorded inside the forest while he was assisting in pulling out an elephant from a pit. I have also included original sounds from Muthanga,” says Udaybhanu who held a series of exhibitions of his photographs at Kozhikode, Thrissur, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram recently.
Through 10 tracks that Udaybhanu has called Wild Walk, Poaching, Pitfall Trap, Mourning, Mahouts, Chaotic, Slavery, Festivity, The Wildest and Ivory, the album traces the life of an elephant, with a pulsating beat that goes right through the ‘electronic symphony’ from the animal’s happy days in the wild, trapped and led into a pit, its failed attempts to escape, dragged and trained to human needs, beaten up, lined up for festivals during one of which he rebels, runs amok, and is shot down to silence.
“My wife Reshma and I started avigna with a motive to help the victimised in our society, humans, animals or Nature. Our mission is to create and share our own art forms for a reason, for a cause, dedicated to the survival of the victimised. It’s a sort of art activism. Gajaayana can be heard for free on our site but I urge people to buy it for the proceeds go for a good cause. From April 2013 till date, we have been involved in distributing food for the needy in our own city, Kozhikode; we have supplied environmental friendly bags in three localities there as a substitute to plastic bags. The money I raised from my photo exhibition called ‘Hues n Barks’, which focussed on the natural strokes seen on tree barks, will be given to Kallen Pokkudan, environmentalist, who is on a mission to save our mangroves,” explains Udaybhanu.