Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Bringing back the era of soulful music!

By Ankita R. Kanabar

Words have their own charm, and the romance that lies in it also has another effect all together. But, in the time of remixes and shortcut messages, sometimes we can’t help but notice the dearth of good words in our day-to-day life and also in the entertainment content that we consume, especially music. Hindi cinema is changing for good, and we’re slightly moving towards matching steps with the western culture. Having said that, sometimes I wonder, if our music is losing its authenticity and culture in terms of the quality of lyrics, with a few exceptions of course.

With solely the thought of reviving the culture of soulful lyrics, and making the youth aware of the rich Hindi literature that exists Goswami Shri Neerajkumaarji Maharaj, also known as Neeraj Madhav, has composed and rendered his voice to an album – ‘Prem Ras’ which has 11 songs, of which the first song, of the album, ‘Doodh jaisi chandni’ with singer Sadhna Sargam has released already. Not only does the composition take you back to the 50s and 60s, but also has a lingering, charming effect. So, here we have, Goswami Shri Neerajkumaarji Maharaj talking about this baby of his, and the thought which went into it...


Converting the poems by some eminent poets of India, into a melody…when did this thought occur to you, and when did you compose all the songs?
I had started composing during my college days, but I was apprehensive about how people would react to my music. Then, I used to make my uncle Shree Mukund Raiji Maharaj hear my compositions. When I got some appreciation from him for my work, I got the confidence to make my friends hear my composition, and slowly, I was a part of various music groups through my college. So, coming out with an album of this sort, has been my vision for a while now, and I’m glad I could do it, now that I’ve fulfilled various responsibilities and can spare some time. But yes, the idea came to me during my college days itself, because these are such beautiful lyrics, penned by the eminent poets of India, like Pandit Narendra Sharma, Dr. Harivansh Rai Bachchan, Dharamvir Bharti, Balbir Singh Rang, Gopal Das Neeraj, among others. So, as far as Hindi literature is concerned, my album will have a lot of weightage.

So, your aim was to bring back the culture of old authentic music?
I feel that good lyrics backed by a melodious composition, has totally disappeared from Hindi films. In fact, I remember a few days ago, Asha Bhonsale jee said that her only advice to young composers is to bring back good melodies. Iss album ke zariye, mujhe Hindi saahitya, aaj ki yuva peedhi ke hothon par laana hai. Tabhi Hindi ka prachaar acche dhang se hoga aur logon mein jagriti jagaa sakunga. 

You said you had composed these songs during college, so did you make any changes in the composition to suit the current trends?
No, these compositions are exactly the same as they were during my college days. Suresh Tale ji who has worked with Sa Re Ga Ma for 14 years, is my music arranger, and I gave him the creative liberty to use the instruments he wants, to suit the temperament on my composition. Ultimately I was there to guide. But the reason for getting Suresh ji on board, was to give my compositions a Bollywood touch, for making it suitable and adaptable to today’s times. Because, this isn’t really my style of music.

So then what is your style of music, and when will we get to hear it?
My style of music is semi-classical, and you will soon get to hear that too. Along with my album ‘Prem Ras’, which has all the songs with a Bollywood touch, I am working on another album all together, which is completely my style, and which will be made exactly the way I want it to be. That one has all my heart and soul. It will have me singing solo and only have all the Indian instruments used.

First song from your album, called ‘Doodh Jaisi Chandni’, which you’ve sung with Sadhna Sargam has already released, tell me something about it?
Just as the lyrics go, ‘Doodh jaisi chandni mein…ek nanhi naav par, hum tum kahin chal de’, I wanted to make sure that the flow of the composition is such that a listener is actually transferred to another world and feels he is travelling somewhere in a boat, on a beautiful peaceful night. Sadhna ji is a very good singer, and it was a good experience to record the song with her.

When will the entire album be out for the audience, including the semi-classical album?
‘Prem Ras’ has total 11 songs, of which three are still left to be recorded. Hopefully, I should be ready with it by December. The semi-classical album also should be ready by December. But after ‘Dood Jaisi Chandni’, I plan to release the other three duet songs with Sadhnaji first.

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