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Left to Right: Artists in 'Rivers of India' video, Amrit Ramnath and Bombay Jayashri. (Image provided by Kanniks Kannikeswaran)

A Musical Tribute to the Rivers of India Features a Bay Area Chorus

Covid has hit India hard. What started in one part of the world last year, ended up in another part of the world this year. It is a challenging period in human history. Collective global health is on top of all our minds. This period in time has unleashed an invisible, yet, mighty virus that has brought our community to its knees. 

Let us do every bit that we can to help mitigate this suffering. Let us support organizations that are doing the work on the ground. And as we get back to ‘normal’ let us resolve to be mindful – and unite as a kinder, gentler planet.

Rivers of India is a song that evokes exactly this response – it carries a message about ‘water consciousness’ and the consequences of unfettered exploitation of natural resources.

The video tells the story of Indias regard and reverence towards rivers, the growing dependence of an increasing population on rivers, human exploitation of water resources, and its consequences. The video ends with a message of hope and a call to humanity to unite and to work towards protecting our precious water resources.  

Internationally renowned composer, Dr. Kanniks Kannikeswaran released the music video titled Rivers of India on Earthday 2021. Featured in the video are musical celebrities Padmashri Bombay Jayashri, Kaushiki Chakraborty, Amrit Ramnath, Rishith Desikan, and Sai Shravanam (Production) along with a supporting virtual chorus of committed singers from around the world. The video is released by the International Center for Clean Water, IIT Madras with the objective of creating awareness about our precious water bodies. 

The music was composed just prior to the pandemic and the production commenced in September 2020. It was a collaborative process, with the composer sharing ‘Logic Pro’ sessions on Dropbox, and the Chennai music production team compiling the artists’ recordings in the midst of the pandemic.

Kaushiki Chakraborty and her son recorded in Kolkata, while the 50 singers from all over the world including many from the Bay Area, CA, recorded in their respective cities. The tracks were assembled and the soundscape was created and mixed down by Sai Shravanam at Resound India Studios. Video captures from Chennai, Kolkata, and the United States were integrated into the final music video.  

Dr. Kanniks Kannikeswaran in a still from 'Rivers of India' video. (Image provided by Kanniks Kannikeswaran)
Dr. Kanniks Kannikeswaran in a still from ‘Rivers of India’ video. (Image provided by Kanniks Kannikeswaran)

Rivers of India is a tribute to the timeless spirit of India that literally accords a revered status to the life-sustaining water bodies. The music strings together the names of rivers across India and it also includes an iconic line from the Tamil classic, Silappathikaram.  

This music video is the brainchild of Dr. Kannikeswaran. He is a visionary music composer, educator based in the United States and is known for his pioneering work in raga-based choral, orchestral music. All of his productions are consistent with his vision of building bridges across communities, celebrating the message of the interconnectedness of all of life. Kannikeswaran has been described as a renaissance personality who effortlessly traverses diverse disciplines such as music, spirituality, and innovation.

“It is important to call out the rivers by name,” says the composer, “We are inheritors of a legacy that held water resources in the highest regard.”

“The Center for Clean Water hopes that the video will create the much-needed awareness and prompt global audiences to visit our website and figure out how they can be a part of the solution,” says E. Nandakumar, the CEO of the ICCW. The ICCW is an initiative of IIT Madras with a team of water professionals connecting industry with academia. 

 


Srishti Prabha is the Managing Editor at India Currents and has worked in low-income/affordable housing as an advocate for children, women, and people of color. She is passionate about diversifying spaces, preserving culture, and removing barriers to equity.