Thursday, October 24, 2013

Recording with Manna Dey

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.

It 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