World Music Day is celebrated to promote the importance of music in our life. So, on this day, Bhajan singer, Shivali Bhammer about the influence of music in her life!
The world is the physical manifestation of creative diversity. We are surrounded by exotic animals, plants, and landscapes. And yet, instead of embracing these differences that the universe naturally gifts us coupled with varying cultures, faiths and languages – we as humans have decided to divorce ourselves from one another. No one can deny human atrocities such as genocide, racism, forced conversions, closed borders, slavery, and so forth. However, the pandemic has affected every country in some way and humanity is in this struggle together. The pandemic negatively links us with one another, but music positively binds us all. Music is love and freedom, it has existed from when the universe exhaled Aum and flourished in the heart of every being. We don’t discriminate when it comes to music. We just listen, and when you listen without judgement, you will heal.
Music has always been a way to commune with the higher and evokes feelings of emotion and healing with one another. The reason why I decided to be a bhajan singer is that music has the power to influence your mood and unleash your emotions. Devotional music of any kind, in any faith, allows you to silently surrender through sound. It also provides you with a vessel to carry the emotions that are burdensome on your shoulder, and through the musical notes and various intonations, you find yourself emptying that vessel of your mind and into the ocean. That grace and surrender music naturally gives you without the need for conscious prayer is what can alleviate the pain and stress we feel. Anyone can think of a time of difficulty they have gone through and recall the album that gave them some solace.
Music is also playful and soothing because a melody is similar to the natural flow of a stream. It doesn’t require any conscious study, thought or energy. It simply allows you to trace and follow it, and that creative movement frees you from the things that have us stuck and troubled. Music lives loftily above an ego infused world. You’ll find someone in East Asia feeling the same way about a song as someone else on the other side of the world. Or you can go to a classical concert, and regardless of an individual’s background, they find themselves identifying with the music. This brings you closer to spirituality because it is breaking boundaries and barriers that we have formed within ourselves. And if the point of spirituality is to feel oneness then music enables that.
People don’t always connect with reading or podcasts, religion or places of worship. However, I am yet to meet a human who doesn’t enjoy listening to music. Perhaps it is because of the way sound vibrates and when we listen to it we tune in to that particular frequency which gives us a sense of connection and belonging. Music that particularly helps in healing are mantras, the rhythmic patterns can give you a boost of energy and are designed to open your chakras and still the mind. During Covid times; I have particularly taken to Durga Mantras and find them very empowering and uplifting – they make you feel invincible.
Classical music that centres on the piano can help you relax as you work and break the monotony of your daily job – especially if you sit at a laptop. There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ type of music, it is a personal connection between you and sound. Sound is energy and that energy is transferred to you, therefore you decide how you wish to receive it. I tend to listen to bhajans and mantras in the morning, then upbeat hits for working out, western classical music for working, and Hindustani classical for when the day nears an end. Whenever your mind is running in a hundred directions and you feel distracted, take a moment and listen to something. Breath slowly, close your eyes and allow yourself to let everything go. For all the things you don’t dare to say or release, the music will do it for you. Remember a song is temporary, so is this moment and our problems, let it seep out of you through the sound. And just like Krishna’s flute or Saraswati’s Veena; find your life in the beauty of a single beat, trace your story in the melody, and honour it with a gentle smile.
About Shivali- Shivali Bhammer (https://www.shivali.co.uk/) was born in London, having studied Economics & Philosophy, she embarked on a career in Investment Banking at Goldman Sachs but quickly left to pursue her artistic passions. She was the youngest artist and only artist to ever be signed to Sony Music BMG for bhajans and has released two devotional albums, The Bhajan Project and Urban Temple which reached number 1 on the iTunes World Chart. Shivali was nominated for two global Indian Music Awards at the age of 23 and was listed as the Top 25 under 25 South Asian Artists in England. Shivali has performed globally for both corporates, public and private concerts. Shivali also holds a diploma in Acting, Kathak (classical Indian dance) and Ballet. An active public speaker globally on Vedanta, Karma Yoga, Jyana Yoga and Bhakti Yoga. Shivali has done documentaries and recordings for BBC Television, BBC Radio and other radio channels in both India and U.S.A. Shivali is the Intercultural Ambassador for a Cambridge University founded think tank called NNedPro Global Centre for Nutrition and Health. Shivali is currently living between New York and London. Pandemic pending, Shivali will be releasing her third album, The Bhajan Project 2 by Sony Music.