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A few hundred yard from the sanctum sanctorum of the Guruvayoor temple, are a line of music stores. Over the years that I have been visiting there, very little had changed.  The music that blared for those stores in questionable yet colorful union was either Yesudas’s melodic salutation to one of the gods, or Balamurali Krishna, and a very rare Bombay Jayashree.

All that changed with this trip. Just as I got out of the temple there was this groove akin to Buddha Bar, delirium, Cafe Del Mar or even Sarah Brightman. Hmm… what a disgrace, I thought to myself. As I walked further the grove beats, apparently just a long prelude, turned into a full fledged chant. I have heard chats mixed with western beat before, but this was different. This was hardcore stotras and slokas that form the very core of the Hindu scriptures, they were chanted to the beat of bars in Paris and Ibiza. How dare they…sacrilege.. screamed part of my brain …my feet stomping and enjoying it simultaneously. Very confusing state of mind..indeed.

So I decided to go into the store and take a look. There were 7 volumes (wow). Here are the links where you can buy the CD’s or listen to samples.

http://www.kosmicmusic.com/do/product/KIN-10019

I bought four of the 7 volumes, just to listen analyze, put my 2 cents of thought. Three weeks later, I am hooked. There maybe a niche that this music has unearthed. From a cognitive point of view,  the Indian mind has not been traditionally trained to appreciate the purity of sound and take it for exactly what it is. This is a major reason why jugalbandi’s and fusion had very little takers.  Also prayer was not considered a genre of music to tamper or experiment with. This CD series though has lent credibility to mixing prayers with and different family of music. The westerners figured this out with Gospel rock long time ago.

From a “share of the ear perspective”  music, drive music and lounge music did not mix until now.

One of the reasons why I think this mixture is pleasant and will find takers is the subtility of the mixture, the beats are “in the back ground” preludes, and interludes complement the prayer and do not take a life form of their own. the mind does not feel  impious, impure or like there is a breach of sanctity.

Further research lead me to the musician behind this series, found here:

http://www.hindu.com/lf/2005/06/12/stories/2005061213120200.htm

Amazing what a 23 years old from a tiny town is capable of doing.  Something also to be said about the state where the two most popular Hindu prayer singers are Christians.

Thank you Stephen Devassy for introducing me to  some of the finest prayer chants…and also adding prayer into my regular life…the girls singing the vocals could do a much better job.

I bought 4, am off to the store to buy the remaining 3 CD’s.

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