Album notes “Praan”This song is my fourth collaboration with Matt Harding. How we met and got started working together is an interesting story in itself, without detailing it here I will just say it is one of those serendipitous events that can play a big part in ones life.
Music By Garry Schyman
Drums and Engineering Dan Blessinger
Vocals Palbasha Siddique
Guitars and bass Kevin Dukes
Concertmaster Belinda Broughton
Orchestral contractor Ross DeRoche (DeRoche Music Inc.)
Vocal Contractor Melissa Nixon
Lyrics adapted from the poem “Stream Of Life” from Gitanjali by Rabindranath Tagore
I wrote this music without particular lyrics in mind because, for one thing, I don’t really write lyrics. Matt would send me early edits of the video which I used to inspire me as I composed. I used my film and television experience to build the song in the appropriate places.
When it came time for lyrics and to find a singer Matt suggested that we consider non-English lyrics, which instantly sounded right to me. I immediately thought of Rabindranath Tagore who is considered the poet laureate of India. He was given the Nobel Prize in literature in 1913 for his English translation of his book of poetry entitled Gitanjali and was the first non-westerner to win the prize.
Matt was particularly fond of the poem “Stream Of Life” which seemed perfectly in tune with his video.
Bengali is a beautiful language so we decided to have it sung in Tagore’s native tongue, however we had no idea who the singer would be.
I started listening to countless demo mp3’s of various studio singers, who all sounded terrific but just didn’t seem right for the song. Bengali is a particularly difficult language to sing if you don’t know the language and we wanted someone who could really bring off the poem in Bengali. To the rescue came Matt’s girlfriend and co-producer of the video Melissa Nixon. Melissa is amazing and searched youtube for just the right voice. Astonishingly she found her in the person of Palbasha Siddique. Palbasha had a couple of videos that included her singing and though the videos did not do her justice, they were enough for us to contact her and learn that she was a 17 year old high school junior living in Minneapolis Minnesota (Palbasha was born in Bengladesh and moved there when she was six years old). To be honest I was initially very skeptical as to whether she could really pull off what we wanted for the song, but when I spoke to her she was keen on being involved and was willing to record a demo for us. I sent her a rough mix of the song and she recorded over it and sent it back. We were all just completely amazed at how perfect she was. She completely understood what we were doing and she sounded fantastic. We immediately invited her and her mother to Los Angeles to record at a session planned for June 5th of this year. She came in and was so professional and sounded so awesome that it could not have been better. Later that day we recorded live strings and if you look closely at about 3:40 into the video you will see Matt dancing with the string section with me next to him conducting (I have the honor of being the only person in Matt’s video whose backside is prominently featured!). Our concertmaster was Belinda Broughton and she and the rest of the string section were wonderful.
I must also pay tribute to my recording engineer Dan Blessinger who records all of my orchestral music for me (I am not really known as a songwriter but rather as a film/TV and video game composer of orchestral scores, check out my score for BioShock). Dan also plays the drums on the track and did an amazing job. I also want to thank Kevin Dukes who has plays guitar and bass on all three songs I have written for Matt’s videos. Kevin is an amazing studio guitarist who can do anything you ask on his instrument.
Oh and the title of the song “Praan” is a particularly poetic way of saying “life” in Bengali.
I hope you like this track I loved writing and recording it.
Stream of Life
The same stream of life that runs through my veins night and day runs through the world and dances in rhythmic measures.
It is the same life that shoots in joy through the dust of the earth in numberless blades of grass and breaks into tumultuous waves of leaves and flowers.
It is the same life that is rocked in the ocean-cradle of birth and of death, in ebb and in flow.
I feel my limbs are made glorious by the touch of this world of life. And my pride is from the lifethrob of ages dancing in my blood this moment.