Eight languages, nine singers and a musical ode to the planet on Earth Day
This Earth Day (April 22) is going to be a lot different, owing to the Covid-19 pandemic. But to make the best of it, a number of artistes have come together to pay tribute to Mother Nature, in the form of a multi-lingual song which premiered online ahead of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Aptly titled Dharti Ma, the over seven-minute long song, composed by Amrit Ramnath, has been sung by nine artistes — Hansraj Hans, Shankar Mahadevan, Bombay Jayashri, Abhay Jodhpurkar, Abhishek Raghuram, Kaushiki Chakraborty, Mahesh Kale, MD Pallavi and Shweta Mohan – in Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, Punjabi, Bengali, Tamil, Malayalam and Kannada.
Speaking to us about the collaboration, Mahadevan says, “This is the time when the planet is giving us a message. We have to pay our salutations to Mother Earth and just say that we love Mother Earth. This is the concept of the song. It is important to preserve and respect the earth and its resources.” Outlining the uniqueness of this song, he adds, “So many different artistes have come together and done this amazing composition. It turned out so beautifully and its main beauty is so many languages. Through music, if you are able to communicate a particular message to the people of our country and the world, I think it’s a great honour and privilege.”
In fact, artistes from all corners of the country worked on the lyrics of the song — Chaitrra Sairam (Kannada), Chetna Shrikant (Hindi and Marathi), Kartik Dalal (Gujarati), Kaushiki Chakraborty (Bengali), Mathuanthaki (Tamil), Shijith Nambiar (Malayalam) and Vidhu Purkayastha (Punjabi).
Ramnath, 21, a trained singer in both Carnatic and Hindustani classical music, says, “The world is going through such difficult times. Music is one of the few things that can actually contribute to healing. This song should ideally be like a prayer for those who may need solace. I think the lyrics highlight the fact that Earth is not dependent on human beings but we are the ones dependent on Earth. Tomorrow, if human beings are out of the equation, Earth will still continue.”
Dharti Ma, which happens to be an initiative of the Earth Day Network, was recorded by the artistes both during and after the lockdown, as many worked for the project remotely from their homes. “I am based out of Chennai, so I was fortunately able to record with the artistes in the city before the lockdown, in studio. The other artistes recorded in their own cities.”
Mahadevan was among the artistes who recorded his part in his home studio. “With digital technology, it’s pretty simple these days. I have my own studio at home so I did my recording there and, of course, the visuals were shot at home only, using a good cellphone. So I think it’s the message that is more important, and it has all shaped up as well as it should be,” says the singer.
Jayashri, who played a vital role in this collaboration, also shared a glimpse of the song on Instagram. “Singing is just a part of a song. With ‘Dharti Ma - A Tribute to Earth’, I had a front seat in seeing everything else that goes into making a song. A number of people burnt the midnight oil to get this one ready on time. I cannot thank Sayee Rakshith, Abinandan David, Sumesh Narayanan, MT Aditya Srinivasan, and Amrit Ramnath enough for their hard work, time and dedication for this song,” she wrote.
Kale also expressed his excitement over this collaboration and shared the song with his followers. “Excited to be a part of this beautiful song celebrating Earth Day…We take many things for granted, let’s take a moment to express our gratitude to mother earth,” Kale posted on Instagram.