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Hindu Interview with Ramesh Vinayakam

Grand symphony

GEETHA VENKATRAMANAN

Different genres blend to define ‘Naadham.’

Ramesh Vinayakam

‘Naadha Vaibhavam…’ the mellifluous strains of music fade slowly after reaching a crescendo, the voices and instruments rising and falling in harmony. The captivating music runs as a thread through the 20-odd minutes during which Sri Sri Ravi Shankar speaks and answers questions on Vijay TV, 7.30 a.m., daily. Is this part of a symphony? Who has created it?

Ramesh Vinayakam, well-known composer, is the creator of the work, which is a combination of various genres. “My brief was to create a theme song for this event of Art of Living happening on January 30 at Perungalathur, where 5,000 musicians will be performing. About 12 minutes was the time given, the concept being ‘Music as a way to God.’ My presentation has exceeded the limit but with reason,” says Ramesh.

After listening one agrees. The composer has blended Carnatic, Hindustani and Western to underline that ‘Naadham’ transcends barriers – geographical, religion and language, just as the Art of Living has followers all over the world, cutting across age, caste and creed.

The cascade of ‘Naadha Vaibhavam’ makes way for the Carnatic ‘Anandam Anantham.’ A slice of Hindustani, a snatch from Chamber Music and Irish follow. Pappu Venugopal Rao’s Sanskrit couplet comes as the finale.

Spiritual touch

The powerful ‘Shambu Natam Payilum Tharunam’ (choral) gives an insight into the origin of music – the dance of Siva to the sounds of the damaru. Obeisance is paid to Saraswati, Goddess of Arts, and the flute of Krishna that mesmerised the cosmos. “The spiritual link is relevant here,” asserts Vinayakam, who is thankful to V.S. Narasimhan, senior composer and violinist. “The organisers approached him first but he suggested my name.”

“Feel the music within you and that moment is nectar, bliss,” goes the Tamil lyric. A serene ‘Shanti Shanti Shanti’ marks the end. “It is not fusion. It is music of all kinds, including silence, that have melded,” notes the composer, who draws your attention to the presence of 12 notes in one consecutive chain in the ‘Om’ as a highlight.

Has he done this before?

“Well, not on the same lines. But I was one of the four composers chosen to tune the songs of Sri Ganapati Sachidananda Swami. He has immense faith in music’s power to heal. That effort was a great success.

“A few years ago, I engaged the patients of the Adyar Cancer Institute in a demonstration of music’s ability to make them forget pain. Sceptic at first, they realised that they had spent over two hours without thinking about their pain and gnawing worry about money to cover the expenses. That is the best thing I have done so far and the credit goes to music, not me,” explains Ramesh.

“Music is the tool that unites people and ‘Naadha Vaibhavam’ is a small contribution,” he adds. Artists involved include Karaikkudi Mani, Lalgudi Krishnan, Veena Parthasarathy, Manicka Vinayakam, P. Unnikrishnan, Shankar Mahadevan, Vijay Shankar, Sanjeev Abhayankar, Srinivas, Chitra Ramesh Vinayakam and so on.

Naadha Vaibhavam’ will be presented on a big screen at the Art of Living event on Sunday, January 30, 6 p.m., at Perungalathur, Chennai.

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