Hi all, I thought I'd share some thoughts on my connection to language and music. Having been born and raised in London, English is the language that I think and write in. However being born to parents from Kolkata, India - Bengali was always spoken around the house, and heard in volume when we had parties and gatherings at home. I started learning to sing at the age of 4, and I was introduced to the basics of Indian Classical singing. I don’t recall thinking or concerning myself with the fact that it was a different language to what I spoke and heard outside my home. It felt like the most natural thing in the world. I loved the way the voice moved, the circular phrasing, the devotional aspect, the beat heavy folk songs, and I loved singing the fast notation patterns that I was taught in different scales/Ragas. Move forward 15 years, and I started to question what I was singing. Why was I singing in this way? I knew I loved it but it wasn't something I felt comfortable sharing or talking about so much, as I wasn't sure how many people would 'get it'. Whilst at school I studied western classical singing, and absolutely loved singing in a choir. We also sang anthems like California dreamin' and singing along to music I was listening to at the time, felt fun and liberating!
I always felt a slight conflict about what language I should sing in. I'd spent more time learning Indian singing, but I feel more natural speaking in English. I'm sure this is something that people of mixed heritage, or those that have relocated can relate to! Now that I've started to write my own music, I have been combining both. Poetry, singing in English, Hindi, Sanskrit and Bengali, and allowing my voice to move in a way that feels real. I went to a Gabby Bernstein workshop in November of last year. One of the first things she said was in the exchange of love, language needs no translation. It felt like a clear answer that I had been reflecting on. We connect to music based on how it makes us feel. We don't always need to know the details of the musical culture that we're listening to. Music/sound/vibration transcends barriers. It's with this intention that I move forward on my journey, with the hope that I can access a clear message of love whilst singing.
I'd love to hear from you! What draws you to different styles of music? Do you always need to know the meaning of what is being sung? - Do comment below!
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