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Between mantra and fondue
Specially in music, globalization has triggered many enjoyable connections. An Indian in Switzerland wonders about this.
You have to imagine this: As a Swiss, you travel to far away country like Japan, and wherever people find out where you come from, their faces light up and you hear the word “fondue”. Your joy lasts until you accept one of the many invitations. Not long after sitting at the table, you know: what is being eaten here has little to do with fondue.
Manish Vyas finds himself in this situation. The Indian musician has been living in Eastern Switzerland for several years due to love. He loves the Alpine land, but has a hard time with what has been widespread in the West due to the enthusiasm for Mantra.
He grew up with the sacred syllables of Sanskrit. In Hinduism, mantras have been transmitted by the legendary Rishis since prehistory till today. If there´s something clear for Manish Vyas, as product of his musical training, is that in order for a mantra to develop its healing effects, it is important to pronounce it correctly. The meaning of the sounds and the intention are rather secondary.
"Do they even know what they're singing?" He thinks occasionally when he hears western stars rocking, rapping or yelling into the microphone on stage when singing mantras. But instead of criticizing others, he prefers to set a good example. In private lessons and small groups, he teaches students the Indian Harmonium and the difficult-to-master Tabla. With angelic patience, he practices the singing of mantras with them.
However, Manish Vyas achieved the greatest broad impact as composer. Many songs on his numerous CDs (manishvyas.com) are very melodic and catchy. On "Ananda Nada" he plays the Santoor, the Indian Hackbrett. He is well aware that this instrument also has a place in the folklore of his new homeland. For the CD, he had his picture taken while playing Santoor on a mountain lake in the Swiss Alps. He doesn't need to sing "Zäuerli”* for that.
* Swiss Jodeln
(Link below for full article) Published 7.2020 : Glückspost (CH)