Having stirred the masses and critics alike with her internationally acclaimed award winning debut album ‘Meera – The Lover’ featuring her original compositions of legendary 16th century Indian poet-queen Meera Bai, popular Mississauga singer-songwriter Vandana Vishwas has now turned to the poetry of a 15th century great Indian Seer-Thinker-Poet – Kabeer Das, for her new studio release.
Kabeer Das, known for his revolutionary poems challenging the prevalent social and religious practices of his times, was a staunch advocate of ‘Fakiri’ – a vagabond lifestyle founded on principles of minimalism. The opening line of the poem itself – ‘Mann Laago Yaar Fakiri Mein’, triumphantly declares – ‘I am hooked into living as a Fakir’. ‘Fakir’ meaning a mendicant or a monk, who does not partake in worldly pleasure but rather derives pleasure out of living minimally. Kabeer Das discloses he has found no pleasure to be bigger than chanting Almighty’s name. He says if we live lavishly, then we are concerned with our finite worldly possessions, but if we live minimalistically with just the barest of necessities and consider the entire world as ours, then we possess the whole world. We are in this world for a very short time after which our body will turn into earth, so what is the point in being arrogant? On the other hand, if we consider the whole world to be one and ours, we are sure to attain salvation.
Vandana was fascinated by the lyrics since a long time and had started working on composing the song quite a while back, but the recent COVID-19 pandemic gave a sudden and unexpected relevance to the song as it addresses the current situation so beautifully! Who would have thought that our lifestyles would be turned upside down within a matter of months? Haven’t we all realized that things that really matter now are our values, our morals and the goodwill we have earned through our deeds? All our worldly possessions suddenly seem so small in the face of the ultimate truth!
Indian Raag Ahir-Bhairav has a unique melodic scale structure involving minor second and minor seventh, that lends beautifully to songs with detachment as underlying mood. The intent and underlying mood of ‘Mann Lago’ being relinquishment, it found Vandana exploring melodies based on Indian Raag Ahir-Bhairav, to come up with this riveting composition.
Vandana wanted the youth to be reconnected to the strong poetry of Kabeer Das, so she wanted the instrumentation to be contemporary, yet a genuine representation of the time the lyrics were conceived. Thus, continuing a trend that started with Vandana’s second album ‘Monologues’ and continued in her third music album ‘Parallels’, Vandana ended up with some cross-cultural genre-bending infusion of old and new diverse Indian, Arabic, Persian and Western musical instruments such as Rabab, Darbuka, Tabla, Dholak, Kartal, Tambourines, Duff, Drums and Electric lead guitar, to yield the characteristic mix of the song.
While Meera Bai’s poems got a traditional treatment by Vandana in her debut album, Vandana promises that her treatment of Kabeer Das’ poetry will see some cross-cultural genre-bending instrumentation – a trend that started with Vandana’s second album ‘Monologues’ and continued in her third music album ‘Parallels’.
More information on Vandana and her music can be found on her website :
Lyrics : Kabeer Das
Composition and Voice : Vandana Vishwas
Music Arrangement : Vandana Vishwas & Sanjay Marathe
Percussion Arrangement : Vishwas Thoke & Raj Sharma
Production : Vandana Vishwas & Vishwas Thoke
Video : Ritesh Verma & Aniruddha Khanwilkar (Curious Men Films)