• Vasundhara Vee

The Earth Song that Travelled

#vasundharavee #taalinc #varunvenkit #djembe #mamadykeita #kassa

A song can write and re-write itself in so many ways. Just like this one I'm gonna tell you about, a song can incubate in the mind of a Master, roll around for years in the lap of an old culture, pop into the memory of a teacher at a workshop and then suddenly seize the heart of a traveling musician. Songs are spells. Songs 'sung' well by each instrument in a band wield a certain collective power..... a gentle power ... one that can erase us, rewrite us and change us.

Last year, I met a song. Varun sent me a voice note and the song jumped out and snatched my brain and bundled my spirit and whirled me onto a cloud, atop which was the only realistic place to listen to it. I played it many times. I tried to learn it like a child. I didn't get the words. I was hypnotized by it, despite how fumblingly I sang it.

I came back to "earth" from the song cloud. I sat with it for weeks in my body. Just like how we still feel the vacation in our body the first night after getting home. In the same way... I didn't sing it, but I felt that it was physically there. And then came the time to respond.

Outside - we can call it taking a brief ....... Sessions singer asks about the lyric.... Figures out the vision of the producers and the players..... comes up with something to fit their requests. But inside ------ It's the song sitting in my skull, making some words shine out in gold.... making some lines wait their time.... making some words seek more space..... sometimes with other words....sometimes with a hum..... It's the song that tugs and plays Ratatouille as I merely highlight, edit, copy, paste, reword..... Everything is slave to it's personality... Everything must respond it its energy.

In 2020, When Kassa chose to be born this way, the Earth was inflamed.... Every country was battling a virus, the Amazon had suffered, Australia had fires, the Earth felt pain. Kassa arrived, asking to be renewed, asking for us to soothe and believe on behalf of others. Even though we suffered in our own ways. Kassa was that one energy that overwrote confusion with unconditional hope.

Old songs have power. They wield the same power and an old archeological site. You look at the place and you see how life has passed over and over again in so many ways on that piece of land. How the human story has etched itself onto the soil..... and how the human psyche etches itself onto a song.

Amazing Grace has the power that no top 40 hit can have at this moment in time. Because it carries the weight of time...

So does Kassa. It carries that ancient spirit .... of blessing... of harvest... of hope... of soothing.... of smelling the fresh crop.... and smelling the deep wild stretch of jungle around the crop.... No matter who sings it, whenever 3 people sing it, you hear a village.... in 2020, in a studio in Versova... we felt it too.

I was going to write a blog post about the making of Kassa and about how honoured I felt to have sung it.... But true to Kassa herself... this turned out to be her story... not mine.

I love you always. Vasundhara