It’s not every day that you see a handful of artistes coming together for a musical collaboration. So, what would it be like to have, not five, not 10, but 150 artistes performing together on a single song?
The answer to that question is “The One Song”, composed by Bengaluru-based music director duo Venky-Varun and launched in collaboration with UNICEF India. With an evocative chorus calling all people to action – Banni munde, heli inde, naavu ella onde (Come forward, say it now, we are all one) – the song is dedicated to the cause of children with special needs.
The sheer range of artistes participating in this collaboration, all of whom honorarily donated their time and talents to the song, is amazing. There are popular actors like Puneeth Rajkumar, Vijay Raghavendra and Upendra. Veteran playback singers like KS Chitra, Vani Jayaram and SP Balasubramaniam also feature in the song. Then, there are classical musicians like Pandit Jasraj and the late Balamuralikrishna, and pop and rock icons like Leslie Lewis and Raghu Dixit.
In simple but touching language, it preaches the need for harmony and accepting difference. It urges people to listen to the voice of nature, open the doors of one’s heart and show compassion and love. It also asks that everyone work towards the goal of dissolving differences, and growing into global citizens who treat each other with equality and respect.
A magnum opus in more ways than one – the song runs for just over 17 minutes – ‘The One Song’ incorporates a range of musical styles from Carnatic classical to jazz to folk to rock. While most of the song is written in Kannada, it also includes portions sung in 13 other languages, including Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Hindi, Japanese, French and Arabic.