Singer-composer Jeevan Dharmadhikaris latest album has 15 tracks that bring Ramayanas characters to life
We grow up watching characters on TV and accept them as our heroes. Thats why a child will look at Salman Khan or another actor as his hero. And thats why,until we depict Rama as a character,and as a person,people will not look at him as their hero, says singer-composer Jeevan Dharmadhikari. His latest album,Ramayan: Adarsh Samaj ka Swarn Chitra,strives to do just that. Each of the 15 tracks in the album are composed around a character from the epic,shifting focus from a grand narrative to individual characters,their personalities and traits both good and bad.
In Shri Rama me Lakshman rahe,Dharmadhikari recites Chaude baras nit jagriti,saaya bane nighra kriti,ati mahaa sanskruti patha rahe. Lakshman didnt sleep for 14 years,he was always conscious of what Rama was going through; he was Ramas shadow,following him everwhere. Rama is in everyone. But the song says Lakshman is in Rama because he was with him, says the singer.
Each track is based on a different raga,depending on the mood and personality Dharmadhikari wanted to evoke. In Suryavanshi Rama,he wanted to depict the joy of the people in Ayodhya when Rama returned. The song begins with the lyrics Suryavanshi Rama hain,Ayodhyadhish Rama hain,Purushottam Rama hain,Bhagawan wo shri Rama hain. As the lyrics rise in praise of Rama,the music too ascends in fervour and tempo,moving higher up the scale with every phrase. I have used raga Kedar in this song because it gives a sense of enthusiasm and anticipation. It has a grand sound, he says.
Dharmadhikari,who has composed music for the Marathi film Tingya and several lavani tracks in the past,admits that composing spiritual tracks is very different from film music or mainstream music. But his musical pedigree couldnt have been more appropriate. He was one of the disciples of Pandit Jitendra Abhisheki,a famous classical singer who hailed from a long lineage of Kirtankars. I got my musical inspiration from him,but my spiritual guru Sanjay Godbole inspired the idea, he says.
It was during Ramayana readings with his guru that the idea struck Dharmadhikari. When my guru read the Ramayana,it was completely different. He depicted each of the characters like real people. I wanted to do the same thing through music, he says. As the epic came alive in his mind,Dharmadhikari also found explanations to the problems of the world in the scriptures. We have forgotten the wisdom of the ages. We see so many problems in the world today and wonder what is wrong with it,but every one of our scriptures and sages could have told you that it all boils down to arrogance and greed. Even in the Ramayana,it all began with Surpanakha and her arrogance, he says.