LIFE

Nature's chant, Remo's symphony

KEEP WALKING. Breathe in the fresh air. Look around and choose your own ground. Cry. Smile. Sing. And listen to the music of nature coming in waves and lapping gently against the shores of your sensibilities. "This is the ultimate high--the heart in harmony with nature. And music is the path that leads to that great communion with nature," he says.

"Like a mathematician who sees numbers everywhere and painter only colours around him, for us musicians everything is music. Even silence. If music gives me the high, nature gives the ultimate high," he smiles.

No wonder, Remo loves walking through spears of paddy rustling in the breeze, verdant hills and by the seaside. "I see God in nature and not in scriptures and places of worship created by man. Leaves, flowers and glorious sunrises are all His gifts to mankind," he lapses into a reverie.

Away from the commercial shenanigans of Mumbai's music industry, Remo lives in the lap of serenity that is Goa. "Living in a place like Goa, it is very relaxing and de-stressing. I compose only when I feel like, and if I feel like. The songs have to come straight out of my heart and not because some producer has paid me a fortune," affirms Remo.

Not for him the rat race and the games people in the music industry play. "For me, it is enough if I produce good music. There are definition-defying moments as the notes come together and I turn ecstatic. Yes, there have been several unfulfilled dreams, but these are part and parcel of a choice that I made to live in quiet Goa and not run the rat race." Remo has been recording his music from his own studio set up in his ancestral home in Siolim for the past 15 years.

The man who produced many a soul-stirring number capturing the pain and anguish running deep in society insists music has a responsible and serious role to play than merely entertaining people. "All my songs stem from what I have seen and felt. They do not emanate from some artificial situations. Just like people talking to friends and sharing their feelings about anything and everything, I express myself in song form. My songs are an extension of my thoughts and reaction to society," he says.

Socially oriented themes against drugs, corruption, communalism, violence and teenage sex form the crux of his works. While Hindi films have given him a wider audience, be it Jalwa, Trikaal, Khamoshi or the more recent Pyar To Hona Hi Tha, it is his private albums with profound messages and genuine music that has had people hooked.

"However, it is sad to see things taking a pendulum swing in the opposite direction in our country whose music, philosophy, literature, drama have had such great depth. We have become more materialistic and superficial than those in the West, yet we blame the West for degradation of values here. In fact, it is in the West that serious music is thriving. In India, the only music we have is film music," laments Remo.

"Can there be anything more cheaper than making those gaudy remixes," he asks. "I will not blame the musicians, but the recording companies who are perpetrating the trend by bypassing genuine composers. Given a chance, people would love to buy good music. But, they will be exposed to good music only when the recording companies allow good music."

Remo says his 2001 album, `India Beyond,' was the most fulfilling album he has ever made.

He followed it up with the meditative album, `Symphonic Chants,' which has the Gayatri Mantra as the base with complex musical arrangements. "These were non-commercial albums filled with rich, complex and serious music. But, they have gone unnoticed.

Recording companies rarely look at those who produce music straight from the heart. It is only the film songs that get all the mileage," he says.

Yet, Remo who turned 50 this May is on a roll producing music his very own way. There are no compromises here. "Even when I type SMSs I do it meticulously complete with punctuations and full abbreviations. Music has to be the way it has to be. Music is the very purpose of my existence and I can only do it the way I know - composing original music."

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