Song Divine: The Bhagavad Gita With a Twist

‘Song Divine’ album cover.

From

This war is against my beliefs.
My conscience wants to feel relief.
Should I draw my sword, and kill or die?
Or is the cost of battle much too high?

To

We each are given a purpose
And my true Self will be known.
It will be known
Through your grace, O Krishna, I am firm.
I‘ve regained my memory.
Delusion is gone, from doubt I am free.
To Your word, I will act accordingly.

Think about a fresh approach to drive home a time-tested message that talks about esoteric but practical truths. The task is to make it appealing and easy while not straying from its essence. And what could be more appropriate than through music and songs, for, in its original form, it is a divine song!

Lissa Coffey and David Vito Gregoli have come up with the first rock opera rendition of the Bhagwad Gita, the Song Divine. It comes in a pack of two CDs and is also be available worldwide through all major streaming channels. 

Eighteen songs correspond to the eighteen chapters of the Bhagwad Gita, and there is a bonus track that concludes the philosophical renditions with a touch of devotion. 

You hear rock, funk, blues, rap, and a mix of Indian and Western styles of music and instruments used quite vibrantly. All the songs are based on Indian ragas, yet there is a flavor of opera and theatre. Blend of original Sanskrit stanzas, Indian-style lengthening of the swaras, and a stand-out chorus makes the whole listening experience unique. 

While the Bansuri cuts the edges and rounds it off smoothly, the electric guitar gives goosebumps. The usage of Tabla, rock drums, Sarangi, and Duduk is tastefully done. They convey the poignancy of the matter in discussion, the gravity of the hard truths about the ephemeral value of the material world, and also the fearlessness and joy that the spiritual wisdom imparts to an individual. 

Not compromising on the lyrical and rhyming value of the translation, the quintessential and succinct words hit you like the Mahavakyas of the Upanishads. The poetic value of the work is irrevocable. 

Steering clear of the doctrinaire nature of driving down the points, the singers let the listeners enjoy the lyrics with an attractive flair. Visvambhar Seth brings the ethereal sublimity and Alexander Perez has the curiosity of Arjuna. Deepak Ramapriyan flows with a creative nonchalance, and don’t miss Sonu Nigam, who recorded a song dedicated to the second chapter lending his versatility with ease. 

For me, the whole effort stands out like a boundary-basher, a piece of art that is befittingly carrying out the task, and epitomizing a beautiful delivery of the Bhagavad Gita. Instead of a constricting lens of religious or dogmatic preconception, the songs bring the essence of the message to you in your own language.

The time is ripe, as they say, for the world to receive such a gift that can bring a shift in our approach towards the world. As the pandemic has given us a perspective to look at the world with a completely different mindset, this set of albums is a reminder of what can happen. Like the protagonist of the epic Bhagwad Gita, we must keep working for whatever is our lot. 


Vivek Kumar is a freelance writer and translator based in Punjab, India. He loves to give a spin to new music and write about how it touches his heart.


 

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