Singing is a mystical experience, says classical singer SUCHIT NARANG to SONAL SRIVASTAVA
When he was two years old, Suchit Narang would respond to the rhythm of tak dhum on the tabla. Born visually impaired, he loved listening to K L Saigal’s songs, even as a toddler. “At that time, I didn’t even know what classical music was,” says Narang, who is now a Dehradun-based classical singer. He has recently composed music and has sung bhajans for the album titled Na-mum. “I think these were my samskaras (actions) from my previous lives,” says Narang who began learning music at a very young age from Vasudev Deshpande, who taught music at Welham Girls’ School, Dehradun. Gradually, he started assisting his guru in preparing classical choirs for schools.
“In a classical choir, we take a tarana, add some notations and rhythm, and with all these, we make a fusion of classical gayakis or style of Indic vocal music — trivat and chaturang,” explains Narang, who is working on acquiring a PhD degree on ‘analytical study for the development of new Braille music notation system for Hindustani Classical music’. He has also developed Braille notations for Carnatic music, which have been recognised by the Braille Council of India.
Trivat is blending of three gayakis and chaturang is a blending of four. “Trivat is a composition with three prominent features — sargam, bols of tabla and taranas. Chaturang includes khayal gayaki besides sargams, bols and taranas. These formed the basis of classical choirs in schools,” explains Narang.
Later, Narang became a disciple of Madhuri Mattoo of Kirana Gharana. “When you learn a new thing, you realise that there is much more to it than what you already know. I used to think that music is only for entertainment, but now I know that it is an art that connects our soul with eternity,” says Narang invoking the connection between Atman, soul, and Parmatman, Supreme Soul. “Our soul is a part of Parmatman. I completely lose myself in music, when I sing; I feel that the Supreme Presence is making me sing. Sometimes, I completely lose track of time; I feel that my voice and my body is a medium and somebody is singing through me and making music. It’s a mystical experience,” says Narang.
He often tries to visualise the Supreme Being while singing. “I can see that it has thousands of legs, hands, and mouths. It’s a divine presence, which is why I decided to call my album Na-mum meaning ‘not mine,’ says Narang.
His grandfather taught him the Bhagwad Gita and the vedas. He says he surrenders to the Supreme Being once he starts singing, and feels the resonance of Aum in his swaras or musical notes. On stage, his reverie is often broken when the audience applauds his performance. “When there are no restrictions to singing, I get completely absorbed in music, but if someone tells me that I have to sing for 30 minutes, then I have to fall back on riyaz or training to perform accordingly.”
He says one way of singing is to do riyaz and then sing before the audience; another way is to become the receiver of Divine Grace and transmit that to the audience. “When we absorb grace and transfer it to the audience, we become transformers from being merely singers,” he adds.
“Even without lyrics, music conveys emotions beautifully. Through the medium of suras our astral body gets energised,” says Narang.