"jaya hey" - A Delightful Album

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"jaya he" CD cover

“JAYA HEY” - the Greatest Authentic album ever to record history of our National Anthem

A rare compilation and especially produced version of the genesis of our “National Anthem” is here, brought to us by saregama, though in limited edition, with support from Ambuja Reality and presented by The Times of India. The just released album consists of Two CDs, one video and one Audio, along with a booklet giving the details in English, Sanskrit / Bangla language. The compilation is by way of an Audio-Visual Tribute to the memory and literary grandeur of the Nobel Prize winner Rabindra Nath Tagore on his 150 th birth day. An unique compilation of the richness and beauty of Rabindra Sangeet in its full splendor.

"Jaya Hey” attempt to look and re-interpret Tagore’s versions from the perspective of fusions and influences from across the world. The Video CD consists of a running befitting pre- recital by Harshvardhan Nevatia in his rich and clear voice, before each track and verse is sung. The album offers a rare instance where “Jana Gana Mana…” is rendered in its enterity (All original verses)and the first three stanzas of first verse happens to be our ‘National Anthem’. The singers who assembled the present version written or adopted by the late Tagore are 39 reknowned singers and musicians of India (some Masters rendering Tagore’s compostions for the first time) supported by composers, writers and a passionate elocutionist. This album will rekindle the magic of the Poet –Pholosopher-Playwright-Painter – Singer –Composer ‘s genius and find a place of pride among rare collections undoubtedly.

The Divine Musical Journey

The Divine Musical Journey of “Jaya Hey” (Bangla / Sanskrit poems are translated in English by Jayabrato Chatterjee and recited by Harsh V Neotia)

Track One : ‘Inspiration’ is translated from original Bengali poem of Tagore “Chitto jetha bhoyshunno…” followed by the Gandhi’s favorite Bhajan of Narsimh Mehta "Vaishnav jana to tene kahiye”. Vocal is given by Soumyojit Das and Piano support by Sourendra Mullick. These two maestros have also composed te entire album.

Track Two: “Spring” is translated from original Bengali Poem of Tagore ‘Aaji dokhino duaar khola’ followed by the Jaidev’s original Sanskrit song from Geet Govind ‘Lalita lavangalata’ soulfully sung by Kavita Krishnamurthy in classical orientation.

Track Three: “Rain” is Tagore’s original Bangla poem “Hridoy amaar naacherey aajikey”. English recitation is followed by a traditional Thumri ‘Ghir ghir aayi badri shyam rang’. This thumri is rendered in new age style orientation by same team of composers Das and Mullick. This captures our heart instantly in the present rainy season.

Track Four: "Tajmahal” is abridged from original Tagore creation of ‘Shah Jehan’ in his collection “Balaka” written in 1916. English recitation is followed by Mir Taki Mir’s Urdu gazal ’Dekh tu dil se’. This is sung in traditional gazal form by Sunidhi Chauhan, but she missed out the charm of Begum Akhtar.

Track Five: “Walk alone” is an abridged version of original Rabindrasangeet ‘Ekla chalo re’. Beautiful vocal orientation to this Bengali poem is given liltingly in country style guitar in Lonewalker’s music format.

Track Six: “The Child” is an abridged version of Tagore’s original English poem of 1932. Recitation is followed by the original track ‘Ave Maria’ in original Latin Franz Schubert poem sung in classical Church music style by Canadian Opera singer Carrie Damicullangan.

Track Seven: "Protest”. This is an excerpt from a long ‘protest’ letter Gurudev Tagore had written way back in 1919 to the then Viceroy of India surrendering his British title honor “Knighthood” bestowed on him in 1915.This was one the finest gesture of patriotism on his part since it was in protest of brutal massacre of Jalianwalla Baug in Punjab. This track offers a forceful recital of excerpted prose, and is followed by our top patriotic famous song of Bankim Babu “Vande Maataram”. Oriention of this song is effective in the folky vocals of Lakshandas Baul.While a line was added to the original by iconic Lalan Fakir, and the tune to the entire poem was composed by Tagore himself.

Track Eight: “Liberation” (Tomaar holo shuru)is based on Tagore’s two Bengali poems viz; ‘Moron jey din diner sheshey….’ and ‘ Peyechhi chhuti bidaaye deho bhai’. The musical composition of this was done by Tagore himself in Rabindrasangeet, and also his own interpretation of death in English in his book ‘Geetanjali’. But here the tune is played on flute by the wizard Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia in ‘Light Blues Instrumental’ orientation.

Track Nine: "Lady from across the shore” is based on Tagore’s Bengali poem ‘Ami chini go chine tomaarey ogo bideshini’. This itself was influenced by the Scottish song ‘To Celia’ written by Ben Jonson. Later on this original Bengali composition was included by the great film maker Satyajit Ray in his classic film ‘Charulata’ (based on Tagore’s novel). Here this is rendered as "To Celia” by the Indi-pop singer Usha Uthup in Irish pub effect cabaret orientation style.

Track Ten: “amour” from Bengali song ‘Bhalobeshey Jodi sukh naahin’. Gurudev wrote it for his first opera ‘Mayar Khela’. Here he employs colour and beauty in the form of his most expressive contribution to Bengal and Bengali literature, which is now ubiquitous Rabindrasangeet. Based on this, a classical lilting number “Aju sakhi muhu muhu” is given the treat of reverberative chords by vocalist- singer Suresh Wadkar. Orientation is Brajabhasha Padavali in Jazz Trio format camouflaged from Germany.

Track Eleven: “divinity” is from the original creation of Tagore poem from the English version of Geetanjali, captioned as ‘Jaabar dineyayee kothaati boley jeno jaai’. This had deeply inspired a 25 year old soldier of France Wilfred Owen during First World War, before he felled to bullets. This is enlivened on Sarod by the maestro Pandit Shivk Kumar Sharma as ‘Bohey nirantara ananta ananda –dhara’ in his popular Situational music style.

Track Twelve: This is the climax masterpiece of this great album. This gives a full version of what “jana gana mana” was, but has been adopted in its FIVE original stanzas of FIVE full verses as ‘Brahmo hymn’ in Sanskritised Bengali written and composed by Rabindranath Tagore, when he sung this for the first time in Indian National Congress session of Dec. 27, 1911. ‘Jana gana mana’ was officially adopted by the Constituent Assembly as INDIAN NATIONAL ANTHEM on 26TH Jan. 1950. While the recitation in album is in English, various renowned singer- artistes have sung it, first as our adopted NATIONAL ANTHEM and then its remaining original Bangla versions.

While the Audio CD ends here, the connoisseurs can have a full colourful version of “Jaya Hey” in full splendor in the Video CD in Hindi/sanskritised and Bangala language rendered by 39 of India’s top vocalists/instrumentalists. The colorful booklet also gives each artiste’s comments (with photo)on his/her experience while making this album. This is a relatively unique album, a collector’s delight. A priceless collection, it adds tons of life to our divine senses. Just go miles, if required to grab this edition of “Jaya Hey” (Full Album of 2 CDs and booklet is priced just Rs. 790/-)

Written by: 

Mohan Siroya

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