Western and Indian Music Blend in a Haunting Melody of Divinity

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HOUSTON: Love, Music and Divinity are universal. They bring harmony. They unite. In fact, they are the very essence of all life.

On Saturday, November 7, in Houston TX, Indian ragas and western notes mingled seamlessly, merging with lyrics in many languages to make heavenly music that had the 60+ performers as well as the audience swaying to the tunes of Divinity.
A unique presentation, Shaking Hands Across Continents was a western-Indian concert ensemble featuring the compositions of His Holiness Maharanyam Sri Sri Muralidhara Swamiji, and directed by accomplished Houston-based musician Vidushi Smt. Rajarajeshwary Bhat.

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Organized by worldwide nonprofit Global Organization for Divinity, the event benefited its Houston Namadwaar Prayer House’s educational and cultural service center. Dignitaries who attended the event included the Honorable Consul General of India Houston, Harish Parvathaneni and his family, and the Honorable Mayor of City of Manvel, Delores Martin, Thara Narasimhan, secretary of Hindus of Greater Houston and representatives of the Pearland Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.

Sri Sri Muralidhara Swamiji, a beacon of bhakti and Nama sankirtan in India, has composed (and continues to compose) over 600 songs in multiple Indian languages and also in English, all of which stem from his actual divine experiences depicting different bhavas (divine moods/attitudes) of a devotee towards God – from praise and enjoyment, friendship and motherhood, to celebration, gratitude, love, intense prayer and more. The beauty of these songs lie in the seemingly simple lyrics that couch profound philosophical meanings, and in the heartfelt prayers and entreaties to God set forth in the verses, which can touch a cord in the hardest of hearts.

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The concert presented 12 songs in English, Sanskrit, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada, in various ragas, and a unique finale of Kaliyaiyum Bali Kollum – Mahamantra Song (a 16-verse composition originally in Tamil) on the universality and greatness of the Divine Name that was translated into and sung in 16 global languages including Gujarati, Marathi, Bengali, Odia, Hindi, German, French, Arabic, Chinese and Spanish.

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Led by star vocalists Kruthi Bhat, Uma Ranganathan and Keerthana Bhat, the group of over 40 singers of all ages was divinely impeccable in their performance, as they were accompanied by the Indian and Western orchestras. The western orchestra of piano, violin, viola, cello and bass – was directed by Mr. Arthur Delaney of Houston who also performed on the piano. The Indian percussion line-up of three mridangists and a chenda player added zing to the presentation and was ably directed by international percussionist Vidwan Sri Erode Nagaraj. The Indian orchestra was led by experienced violinists Sri Mahesh Iyer and Smt. Deepa Ramachandran of Houston and also included drums and keyboard.

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A highlight among the Indian songs was the beautiful Srinivasa Karavalambanam, a captivating sloka composition of eight verses that had been set into a ragamalika of eight apt ragas by Smt. Rajarajeshwary Bhat. On the western side, a deeply significant song, Life is short… Your Grace Has Come Not, stood out with its haunting melody and refrain “Today we are alive, we don’t know about tomorrow… so chant Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare, Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare.”

Global Organization for Divinity aims to promote peace, harmony and universal love amid cultural diversity, and is involved in several cultural, spiritual and social activities in Houston, around the USA and the world.

To know more about G.O.D. USA and Houston Namadwaar, visit www.godivinity.org , call +1 281-402-6585 or email houston.god@godivinity.org.