Apane Logo | My People

25. January 2011

This song is in 11 beats but you’d never know it. The rhythm is called char tal ki sawari. Try counting to 11 when the tabla begins, (taking about one second for each number), and keep counting over and over again from 1 to 11 throughout the song. You can follow how Jim Feist plays different variations all within that eleven-beat cycle. My sitar guru, Partha Chatterjee, taught me the rhythm (taal) while I was in Fremont, CA, for my annual lessons. You’ll see clearly how the taal works in the sitar solo where I complete each musical thought at the beginning of every new 11 beat cycle.

It wasn’t difficult to choose this as the final song for the album. Apané Logo is a song of promise. You hear it in the Hindi chorus in the background throughout the song: “I will not forsake my people” (Apané logo ko kabhi nahi tya-gung-ga). God’s secret kingdom values and His promises are changeless. He calls me to look to Him for everything, “Give us this day our daily bread;” to live lives of grace, free of judgment, “Forgive our sins even as we forgive those who sin against us;” and to always recognize with humility the possibility of falling, “Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.”

When I was recording the vocal part, I recalled the blind men and women who make their living walking up and down the aisle of the Indian trains and buses, singing at the top of their lungs, usually a devotional song about God’s mercy, (and the implied mercy of the potential donors sitting in their seats). The strong Hindi vocal part that opens the song translates to what Pete sings later, “I will lead the blind down ways they have not known. I will turn the darkness into light.” I will probably never have the life of the blind on an Indian train, but, even without that experience, I sense my spiritual need more than ever these days. And I feel the things that I usually rely on slipping. From the heart I want to chant the subversive prayer, “Our Father, who is in Heaven, your Kingdom come,” and take less comfort in my securities or my citizenship in a powerful country. And I want to hear the words, “I will not forsake you,” calling back.