Samasati reviews Manish Vyas’ latest CD.
‘Shivoham’ is the eighth release of Manish Vyas’ own production and is just one more confirmation of the fine quality of his work. One would almost say that to define this CD is to know Manish, because each composition in the album has a story, has been a long journey, as he himself has explained. If one is sensitive enough, one can truly sense that music is his most innate way of expressing his being and sharing his soul.
The best way to picture the style of this new album is to transport oneself to a silent, spiritual, ancient India: of devotion, mystery, worship, silence and inner search. With each mantra, ‘Shivoham’, which means ‘I am bliss’, truly honors its name by creating a space of well-being, peace and centred joy.
Having grown up in a family of sannyasins, where his grandfather was running an Osho Meditation Centre in his birth-state of Gujarat, Manish grew up among ‘swaras and ragas’ (notes and melodies) as well as dancing and meditation. Later, during many years, and while Osho was still physically present, Manish played live in the Pune Commune, together with many other talented musicians. He says Osho was clearly his inspiration and motivation when he decided to pursue music as a profession… and he still is.
‘Shivoham’ elegantly displays both ancient and contemporary elements. When it comes to creating devotional Indian music, one clearly notices that Manish has an inborn clarity and sharp sensitivity in the perception of all aspects of music. With his contemporary vision, he has created a unique fusion and new age genre, in which his music is easily accepted and enjoyed by eastern and western audiences; yet he has kept the ability to maintain the quality of the real essence of Indian compositions, lyrics and structures. In this way, he always shows great respect for the Maestros of all times.
One can see that Manish does not compromise when it comes to music; carefully and freely he chooses each element in his compositions. He does not seem to be trying to please the high demand of ‘spiritual’ music, as many artists tend to do for commercial reasons. Instead, he creates and then, simply shares. Amazingly enough, he can take as much as five or ten years to release a new album… he does it only when he feels it is the right moment, when the songs are ready and mature – when the real ‘soul’ of the album has been conveyed.
The spirit of ‘Shivoham’ could be matched with these words of Osho: “Whatsoever feels good is good, whatsoever feels beautiful is beautiful, and whatsoever makes you joyful, gay, delighted, is truth. Let that be your only criterion; don´t be bothered by others’ opinions. Let this be your only touchstone – whatsoever makes you happy is bound to be true. Ananda, bliss, is the only criterion of truth.”
The Discipline of Transcendence, Vol 2, Ch 1, Q 2
This album was launched worldwide in April 2014 by Spirit Voyage Records and, not surprisingly, is being very well received by an impatient audience who has been requesting him repeatedly to release a new album. Going through other reviews, most of the listeners express that the mantras in this CD bring them immediately to a meditative, soothing space. Also, there are innumerable comments about his silken and deeply expressive, soothing, mysterious voice, so full of feeling.
There is an immense richness of musical elements beautifully combined in ‘Shivoham’ – santoor, tabla and a variety of percussion, harp, piano, violin, guitar, bansuri, clarinet, sarod, sitar and beautiful feminine voices gracefully joining Manish. Through ‘Shivoham’, he is sharing his passion, his essence – as he himself expressed, “this music was conceived where silence meets music and music meets silence – that space where I find bliss.”
By meeting Manish, it is really surprising to see how the richness of his musical creations contrasts with the simplicity of his being.
Samasati, Osho News
Listen on: soundcloud.com/manish-vyas
In this article on Osho News you can listen to and read what Manish has to say about on of the tracks: Sohum by Manish
Manish grew up in a sannyas family in Gujarat, India, and was initiated into sannyas by Osho in 1978, when he was just 7. In 1986, Manish moved to Pune originally to study engineering, but instead became involved in the music department of Osho’s Commune. He played live for Osho together with musicians from all over the world. This period helped his musical horizons expand. Manish has since performed, recorded and travelled with Prem Joshua, Chinmaya Dunster, Snatam Kaur, Shastro, Praful, Sudha, Maneesh and many other musicians. He has also composed mantras for Deva Premal. www.manishvyas.com
Manish will be at Osho Leela, Dorset, UK for the ‘India my Love’ Festival, 23-26 May 2014, in case you are in the neighbourhood.