The best way a music composer can shed some light on an issue, is through music. And music’s power as a bringer of calmness and tranquility has been advocated since the dawn of time, so to speak. Having had enough of the rampage that the pandemic is still running, music composer Indrayuddh Majumder came up with one of the most uniquely intuitive ideas ever with ‘Om Shanti’.
Indrayuddh Majumder, son of popular Indian sarod player Tejendra Narayan Majumder, thought of the special idea of connecting music and dance as a national prayer for peace. The project was aptly titled ‘Om Shanti’. Indrayuddh wrote the music and lyrics himself, before asking 24 young Indian performing artists to take part in it, alongside the Kathak legend, Pandit Birju Maharaj.
“The idea was to present a theme on world peace amidst these uncertain times”, tells Kohinoor Mukherjee, the Mixing and Mastering Engineer of the project.
“Since none of us could go out, Indrayuddh wanted the project to be recorded from home itself. As a result, these 24 brilliant rising stars of the Indian music and dance scenes recorded over phone and sent their bits to Indrayuddh. Pandit Birju Maharaj, the God of Kathak Dance, did the same”, Kohinoor shares as he admires the thoughtfulness and adaptability of the performers.
It was quite a challenge to mix and master the song, over 90% of which was understandably recorded on their mobile phones. There was consistent background noise that could potentially ruin the quality of the audio, if not taken care of properly. A recording of this stature, where an ensemble records from their personal homes, would obviously pose legitimate threat to any mixing and mastering engineer; and it did so with Kohinoor, too.
But an adept blacksmith can repair all things iron, no matter the quality. Kohinoor Mukherjee, being an experienced audio engineer, got the best out of it. The music was vast and the vastness, unprecedented. It didn’t come to be right from the word ‘go’.
“It took me some time to mix and then master the whole thing. Indrayuddh had sent me the combined video where everybody’s performance was combined into one. The mixed tracks went back and forth between the two of us at least thrice, because I couldn’t get the balanced track at the beginning itself.”
But how challenging was balancing the different instrument tracks? According to Kohinoor, that was, in fact, the toughest part of the whole process.
“The most challenging was the difference in quality of recordings. To balance them sonically and get them mixed at an equally audible quality was some task! There were live drums, electric guitar, contrabass, flute, sitar, violin to name a few. The sarod was recorded in the most studio-friendly way. Sitar, sarod, and flute were from contrasting sources but had to be balanced equally so that the difference in quality was brought to uniformity.”
But in the end, he praises the artists who took part in it, wholeheartedly, “It was difficult to get it done, but they did it, nonetheless. Their talent speaks for them and it shows in the final output that I had to mix thrice and master twice. They had zero gears, zero anything and still rose up to it and delivered a brilliant rendition.”
Shot at a duration of over 6 minutes with help from renowned filmmaker Arindam Sil, the music video for ‘Om Shanti’ was released just a few weeks ago, on 6th June, 2020.
Kohinoor was also especially full of praise for Indrayuddh Majumder, as well. He believed that such a project wouldn’t take place without his immense creativity and understanding, opining that an initiative as unique as this one, will open up newer avenues for the rising stars.
The artists taking part in a music video are as follows:
Kumar Mardur (Vocals),Deborshee Bhattacharjee (Vocals),Arunasish Roy (Vocals),Trisha Parui (Vocals),Shatavisha Mukherjee (Vocals),Sangborti Das (Vocals),Indrayuddh Majumder (Sarod),Ayan Sengupta (Sitar),Sumanth Manjunath (Violin),Shadaj Godkhindi (Flute),Sambit Chatterjee (Drums),Rhythm Shaw (Electric Guitar),Debjit Patitundi (Tabla), Sayan Ganguly ,(Keyboards), Debjit Mahalanobis (Contrabass)
Vishal Krishna (Kathak), Prateeksha Kashi (Kuchipudi), Arushi Mudgal (Odissi), Pavitra Bhat (Bharatanatyam), Ragini Maharaj (Kathak), Preetisha Mohapatra (Odissi), Sudip Ghosh (Manipuri), Diptangshu Paul (Kathakali), Gargi Niyogi (Mohiniyattam)
Special Appearance: Padma Vibhushan Pandit Birju Maharaj