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Teri Icha Puri Ho Jaye

Solomoni Biumaiono
Sunday, April 28, 2013

Swadesh Singh's love for music has not diminished. Even as an IT professional, he only recently released his fourth gospel album in Australia where he now resides.

Together with his wife, Sharit Singh, the couple's new album is titled 'Teri Icha Puri Ho Jaye' (Your Will Be Done).

This album is to commemorate their newfound faith and they see it as one of their contributions to their church.

"My wife Sharit, who is also a gospel singer, and I, have always seen a hunger for good Hindi gospel songs especially for our younger generation and new Christians (we ourselves had this very same hunger when we accepted Christ). We still very strongly feel that this is one area that needs to be explored more vigorously by the church today, to have any real impact on turning the young generation of today and the future to Christ," Swadesh said.

This album is in addition to the three gospel albums they have already released in Fiji over the years, a journey they started when they embraced Christianity.

The first was 'Masih Vandhna' (Praises to the Messiah), 'Jiwan Ki Jyoti' (Light of Life) and the third was 'Prem Sandesh' (Message of Love).

But Swadesh has not always been a gospel singer all his life. He joined many secular bands eversince he was a 16-year-old growing up in Toorak.

He first joined the Melody Makers and also recorded at Procera and SPR music studios producing singles and albums with his bands where they give their cover renditions of Hindi movie songs and their own original compositions as well.

Swadesh's greatest achievement was recording an iTaukei album with Seci Fly Banuve, which became Navolau No. 1 villager's popular album, and included songs like 'Dil dil se milakar dekho'.

"The delight of just being a part of the music team doing any project (live or recording) is massive and I was always willing to go through any challenges just for that experience, again and again even up to this very day," he added.

His journey started when he accompanied his mom to a wedding in Toorak where a live band was entertaining the crowd.

"I just fell in love with everything I saw, the singers, musicians, the light and the sound. I just wanted to do the things these people were doing straight away, especially the drummer. I just fell in love with music that night and wanted to become a part of it."

His musical background was practically nil as neither his parents were musicians or singers.

"My uncles sang a lot, but only when they were very drunk and they sounded awful. One of them had been a guitarist. My mom, a kindy teacher loved music and songs so she would always listen to the radio, take us to movies and sing now and then. But no one was really a musician in my family during my childhood days," Swadesh said.

He placed himself under the tutelage of the leader of the Melody Makers, a man he simply called Daniel, who was the band's keyboard player.

"Apart from being a very talented and dedicated musician, for many years, I have witnessed Daniel make musicians and singers out of just anybody from the streets, including me.

"Many became our band members and are still playing music or singing in different parts of the world today. Daniel knew no limits when it came to teaching and encouraging the young to become good and perfect musicians and singers," Swadesh said.

In fact, it was his love for music that changed Swadesh's life and put him on the path that he has trodden on ever since, finding Christ, starting his family and eventually settling in Australia.

"In my early teens, I was in search of comfort which I couldn't find at home. Even as a kid, I went from place to place searching for it, doing all sorts of things with all kinds of people.

"One day I recognised some people from a band doing business in the markets. I started going to the markets day after day and even started doing odd jobs there and soon I befriended some of them.

"I now know that Christ had His hand in my becoming a musician as it actually saved me from the fate that awaited me, like most young kids without a father or mentor, going through my experiences as they grow up. Many of my friends have either ended up in prison, committed suicide and some have died prematurely," Swadesh said.

He is still yet to come up with a formal name for his band, which is made up of him and his wife Sharit, who did most of the vocals for the 'Teri Icha Puri Ho Jaye' (Your Will Be Done) album.

In between this, comes the struggle of juggling between work and trying to build a family.

"Recording projects demand a lot of time and dedication to be finished successfully. Like any project, it requires commitment which can only be provided through sacrifices. I have invested many weekends, public holidays and annual leave etc. into this project," he said.

"Support from Sharit has also been a key contributor in the completion of this album. Above all I am very thankful to God for providing me with the vision and also the strength and the ways and means to make all this happen."

But this has not fazed Swadesh's faith in his religion nor diminish his passion for music and for him to be able to release a Hindi gospel album in Australia is a major achievement for him.

"I feel that the public perception for Hindi gospel music and songs in Australia is good and it is getting better with time. But like everywhere else, there is a big challenge from the film world which has very high quality music, singing and to top it up, movies.

"Indian gospel music and singing is climbing up with some very dedicated international singers like Vijay Benedict, Tahira and Anil Kant, to name just a few. Locals (Fiji and Australia) are also trying hard to contribute and many have written and composed wonderful gospel songs but tend to stop when it comes to recordings and releasing of albums.

"I believe this is due to a number of reasons including the lack of skills and experience, the very high costs incurred and probably leadership and support for establishing the proper vision for releasing albums, that is, spreading the word," he said.

Swadesh has remained steadfast with his aim of spreading the word and is to continue producing gospel albums and share knowledge with those with the heart and willingness to learn and to do the will of God through music.

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