by Sarah Daniella Dickman
For many people nowadays, the intake of music has become something very light and palatable. It has become almost too easy to digest, with no thought process on the part of the listener. It is a testament to the lifestyle of the current generation, where everything is made to be easy, to be easily received and in turn, easily responded to.
We sat down with underground music producer, Rajindra Ranna, to talk about the process of creating music that isn’t just meant to be listened to as a distraction on the traffic-jammed drive home from a long day of work, or as the background music at an ice-cream parlour.
What I am going to do now is try, as hard as it may be, to describe to you, the artwork that Rajindra Ranna creates and the journey he goes on to bring it to life. Rajindra considers himself a genreless music producer, saying that his music is a reflection of all the sounds that life gives to him and more. Having dabbled in the creation of this artistry for no more than 2 years, he works from his home studio, from conceptualizing and recording to mixing and mastering.
A multi-principled musician himself, Rajindra begins each track with the idea of a melody, typically on the keyboard, but if that doesn’t do it for him, then he moves on to the strings. Once that has been formed, he decides on the general direction of the song and the rest takes its own organic course from there. Rajindra melds the artistry and musical influences of various cultures, both modern and traditional into his tracks. He works closely with Danielle Desiree, the main vocalists in most of his tracks and Gaius Thangarajan, who infuses his modern artistry with Rajindra’s works.
Infusing elements of Hindu epics, classical Indian singing – Raga, and dashes of Sufi, the current project he is working on, called Prinsip may just be his greatest work yet. When asked about his creative process, Rajindra immediately comes out saying that he is not a song writer, but rather, a writer of music. His projects are entirely telling a story. His typical tracks are 5-8 minutes long and he takes months to work on each of them, never working on any one for more than 2 or 3 hours at a time so that his instincts remain sharp, and his ears are able to identify where a specific sound needs to be or where an alteration should be made. He also keeps lyrics to a bare minimum, preferring to let chord progressions and the elemental instruments tell the tale instead.
“I’m not a song writer – but I consider myself a writer of music. Each of my songs tells a different story. That’s where I get the idea.”
Prinsip starts off with the doleful words of a reminiscent lover, sang in Bahasa Malaysia by Danielle Desiree, reaching out to her lost partner one last time, over the boundaries of space and time, transcending life itself. Based on the Hindu epic of Lord Shiva and the loss of his first wife and one true love, Sathi, the first verse of the song speaks of the undying love the deity has for Sathi, promising her that he’s loved her in this life and even in rebirth and reincarnation, he will love her in the next life and the lives to come.
While this is the underlying theme of Prinsip, Rajindra spiels another story through this song, along the lines of love and loss. He speaks of a hypothetical aboriginal village, deep in the jungles, who live off of the land and thrive off of their skills, of hunting, fishing and gathering produce. The story goes that there was a village head whose son had a desire in him to be educated in a school of the state. The village head is reluctant to send his son away as he wants him to continue in the peaceful heritage of their tribe, with no will or want for the coin and dollar.
“Prinsip tells two stories in one – the love of Lord Shiva toward his wife, Sathi; and the love and loss of a father letting his son go.”
His son is adamant and insists on gaining an education, and finally, the village head gives in, not because he is weak, but because the love he has for his son is so great and all he ever wants to do is give his son the best in life. He sends his son off, over the mountains and beyond to gain an education in the world where modernization has taken the front seat. The father sings in agony about the loss he feels when his only son leaves him to seek a different life, knowing fully well, that when he returns to the folds he once called home, he would never be the same person again.
At the pinnacle of the song, the throes of woe are sung in Hindi by Rajindra himself, pleas that say “Don’t forget me, please don’t forget me”, with an ethereal vocal run sang in the style of the classic Raga to accompany it. The resultant combination is one that transports you to the spirit of the song and emotions that are meant to be captivated.
Rajindra takes his listeners on a journey with Prinsip and many of his other tracks. Telling the stories in all their clarity, the tracks captivate the emotion and the mind. If you could hear rainbows, Rajindra’s music would be just that. This talented producer believes that quality is not the main thing, it is the only thing, and this is clearly reflected in the brilliance that is Prinsip.