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A Musical Journey for World Peace

By Michael Diamond

 

With the Grammy awards taking place in Los Angeles at the end of January, inspirational filmmaker Rupam Sarmah of India is holding a vision of adding this prestigious award in the “Best Music Film” category to his already impressive career. It is not everyday I have the opportunity to write about something that has been awarded a place in The Guinness Book of World Records, but the musical event portrayed in this colorful film, is one of them. The concert, entitled A Musical Journey For World Peace, was a massive (and that’s an understatement) international symphony that was held in Assam, India in 2013, and was attended by more than 30,000 people.

The extravaganza brought over 500 participants from around the world together, including 106 vocalists and 370 musicians. The world record referred to is: “Most Instruments Used In A Musical Composition,” in this case, an incredible 315 unique instruments, which surpassed the previous record, held by 181 musicians in Japan. A representative from The Guinness Book was actually at the event and presented a plaque on stage certifying the award. The person receiving this prestigious honor was Rupam Sarmah, the creator and nucleus of A Musical Journey For World Peace. While awards of this nature can be the achievement of a lifetime, for Rupam, it was all about the message of universal harmony.

Originally from Assam, a northeast state of India, and currently living in California, Rupam is an internationally-awarded music and film director, singer, songwriter, producer, engineer and a media entrepreneur. For more than 20 years, Rupam has written songs in various languages and has directed music in many feature films that have received numerous awards, including an Oscar nomination. His most recent film project, entitled In Search Of God, is an inspiring story of a young lady from the U.S. who travels to India on a quest for deeper meaning in her life. Although Rupam has achieved global acclaim for his work, he is a humble and down-to-earth person, whose only goal is to uplift consciousness in the world however he can.

And if this is what he’s aiming for, he most certainly hit the mark with A Musical Journey For World Peace. Watching the DVD of the concert, I was blown away by its profound statement — and the embodiment of cooperation and unity. Hundreds of performers filling the immense stage dressed in traditional costumes of their countries was a sight to see. Watching the huge musical assemblage flawlessly performing the various movements of this nearly 40-minute symphony, was a living example of the beauty that can happen when people work (and in this case, play) towards a common goal.

In Rupam’s words: “If we could find acceptance, compassion, and love for each other regardless of religion, race, color, or identity, the world would be a much better place. Music is the catalyst to bring people together and send the message of peace and love. The credit goes to the entire team, their motivation, their dream and ability to make it happen.”

As can be imagined, any event of this magnitude and complexity took a monumental amount of effort and devotion to bring to fruition. Rupam planned the event for about two years. The actual composition, for which he wrote all the music, took over 6 months. When I viewed the DVD, I couldn’t get over how smoothly it moved from one section to another with no breaks in between.

According to Rupam: “The composition includes various styles sung in English, Sanskrit Mantras, Tibetan, Irish, Chinese, Cuban, Latino, Japanese Chanting, Assamese Borgeet, Bihu, Jhumur, Bengali, Hindi, North Indian Classical, South Indian Classical music, various World Folk, and more.  The music needed to transition seamlessly from one section to the other with variations in time signature, key signature, tempo, and style change.” The absolute elegance with which it all played out is a testament, not only to Rupam’s vision and dedication, but also to the collective artistic energy of everyone involved.

I also wanted to comment about the camera work on the DVD. It is probably next to impossible to imagine the challenges of documenting any event of this enormity. But the numerous cameras that were used did a remarkable job of drawing you into the festivity with an up-close look at the performers and their interactions. The veritable rainbow of colors in the performer’s native homeland costumes also added to the visual magic. This is truly a case of the whole being much greater than the sum of its parts.

According to Rupam, “When the dream of one person becomes the dream of many, it can transform a small dream into a much bigger one and create wonderful things in this world to bring people together with love, peace and light.” An article about the event in Time Magazine quoted Rupam as saying “We did it together! It is a small dream, but we did it and it belongs to everybody -— it is history for us.” For 37 minutes, A Musical Journey for World Peace is the sound of many hearts beating as one.

A video of the event, and a 4-minute trailer, can be seen at: www.rupamsarmah.net

Michael Diamond is a music producer, recording artist, and music journalist in the San Francisco Bay area with over 30 years of experience writing for nationally-published magazines. For additional reviews, visit: www.michaeldiamondmusic.com