Our Creative Director and one-third of the band 3 Brothers & A Violin, Narayan Parasuram writes a lovely little note about working with Manna Dey.
took me several attempts to meet Manna Dey during the creation of
Bandar Bindaas Bandar - not that it was difficult to reach him but
simply because he could not understand why even a nondescript music
director would want to record a song with him (he was 82 then). When I
finally met him in his house, he commanded me in his most endearing
baritone: "Woh udhar harmonium hai, gaana sunao". Just as I was
finishing, he picked up the phone and made a call. From the
conversation, I realised, to my surprise, that he was speaking with
Yesudas. He spoke to Yesudas about the song, about Karadi Tales...as if
he knew us intimately for a long long time. He convinced Yesudas to sing
the song and told me, "Das koyeh gaana cassette mein bhejo, woh
gaayega". Much to my own surprise, I found myself telling him, "Sir, if I
wanted Yesudas to sing, I would have done so myself, I want you to sing
this song". Surprised at this blunt response, he told me that I would
have to come to his home and rehearse the song for atleast a week. That
one week where I was supposed to teach him this song, was one of the
greatest learning experiences for me.
On the day of
the recording, he refused my offer of a car and came in an autorickshaw
to Rainbow Studio, bang on time without any assistant or sidekicks. He
recorded the song in continuous takes,refused to punch in corrections
and insisted on singing the song seamlessly from the beginning to the
end. We spent more than 5 hours recording this seemingly simple "song
for children" along with Gulzar who had written it.
'Nadiyaan Mein Paani' is one of the many testimonies to the absolute imaandari to "sur" that Manna Dey embodied.
Listen to Manna Dey's 'Nadiyaan Mein Paani' here - https://soundcloud.com/karadi-bear/nadiyan-mein-paani-manna-dey