Composing the S’pore heartbeat: New Tamil song features musical instruments from various cultures

Composing the S’pore heartbeat: New Tamil song features musical instruments from various cultures
(standing, from left) Rayner Tan, violinist; Jordan Joshua, music composition; James Lim, flautist, Kaushik Suresh, singer; Macarios Darren, guitarist; Tham Siow Chen, guzheng player; Ho Ying Sian, zhongruan player; and project leader Logapreyan Renganathan (seated).

He is not a poet. He cannot compose songs or write music. He has no musical background whatsoever. He is also not strong enough in Tamil to write a song.

What Logapreyan Renganathan did have was a vision: To create a song for the people, by the people.

With that vision in mind, he approached his friend Bhargav Sriganesh and sat down with him to compose a song - Thesathin Ithaya Thudipu, or Heartbeat of the Nation.

Of course, the process was not as simple as that. It took over six months to write, compose, record and produce the song and the music video.

During that time, the group - consisting of Mr Renganathan, Mr Sriganesh, composer Jordan Joshua, singer Kaushik Suresh and guitarist Macarios Darren - also showed the song to friends and families of different ethnicities and age groups in an effort to create a song that everybody could relate to.

The group was also looking for sponsorship to produce the video, and came across the SG50 Celebration Fund. They applied for a grant and got it three months later.

The song endeavours to showcase Singapore's journey as a young nation, as a collective entity that is shared by one and all, regardless of race, language or religion.

So why create a multiracial song in Tamil?

"Indians have a very strong culture and song and dance is innate in us," Mr Renganathan explained. He decided to make use of drums from various ethnic groups and collapse them into one song, "into the heartbeat of the nation".

The result draws together instruments from various ethnic groups - like the lion dance drum, Chinese flute, violin, cello, guzheng, kompang, tabla and mridangam - into one dynamic, harmonious and melodic song.

Although the video has been released only on the social media site Facebook so far, the response has been favourable. "The song appeals to many races, and it's not just Indians who are telling us that they enjoy the song," Mr Renganathan said, the pride evident in his voice.

As for what comes next, he admits that he never thought about what came after the launch. "I thought I would just be producing the video, and that was it," he laughed.

However, he added, the highest accolade would be to hear it played on Aug 9 next year at the Padang. For him, it does not matter if they are not a part of the National Day Parade. It would be an honour simply to have the song played as part of the SG50 celebrations, whether it is at the celebration itself or for the fringe activities.

bhavnav@sph.com.sg


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