Girijashankar’s single is a 12th-century poem on devotion

Chennai-based Carnatic musician Girijashankar Sundaresan has been in the US for eight months now, owing to the pandemic. But that hasn’t stopped him from making music. He recently came out with a song, Pushpa Ki Abhilasha, written by poet Pandit Makhanlal Chaturvedi, in an effort to reach out to non-Tamil speaking and non-Carnatic music listeners. And now, he has picked up a 12th century poem ‘Entahadayya’ — for his new single.
The musician says that his friend Preeth, a PHD scholar, gave him a few vachanas by different composers, which he wanted to sing for the December Music festival. But things took a turn this year with the pandemic, and so, he made other plans. “With the pandemic raging, I decided to take a break from the music season this year and my wife, Rajya Rajan, suggested that we do a music video instead with this particular vachana by Basavanna (12th century poet) — Entahadayya since the theme resonated with what we wanted to show artistically. In the poem, the poet ponders about what devotion is. We have tried to represent how as human beings, we spend our whole lives pondering the past that we forget to live in the present. So, the poem is kind of used metaphorically,” he says.

Girijashankar says that so many things were inspiring about the poem. He says, “The composer has beautifully expressed various perceptions and angles of great devotees like Dasayya, Siriyala and Banasura and wonders what true ‘Bhakti’ is. I was able to see ‘acceptance’ and the ‘broad mindedness’ in the hands of the poet to be able to understand and accept that devotion is subjective. However, we have tried to metaphorically represent the poet’s quest for answers in his search and how he had pondered about such a broad subject.”
The tune was composed by Sabesh Subramaniam. “I had contacted him in January to request him to tune some of the verses. He was gracious to accept and send me his version almost in a week. I quickly learnt it and just a few months ago, shared it with Vittal Rangan. Vittal added so much beauty to the verse by arranging music and playing the violin. MT Aditya had mixed and mastered the sound for the track. Lastly, Rajya co-ordinated, conceptualised, shot and made the production,” he informs.

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