The Asian Age

In quest of divine mu­sic

Ben­jamin Fran­cis is both a pi­ous man and a dili­gent mu­si­cian. So he of­fers his ser­vice to God via the pu­rity of choir- mu­sic in church.

- PRAMITA BOSE

Mu­sic is a univer­sal lan­guage and peo­ple who speak this lan­guage are univer­sal in true sense of the word, philosophi­ses 55- yearold Ben­galu­rubased Ben­jamin Fran­cis, who has been loy­ally dab­bling in divine mu­sic all through his life.

“Why I choose to re­strict my­self to only spir­i­tual songs is be­cause when I croon and play at the Holy Mass, peo­ple who de­vot­edly gather in the assem­bly to par­tic­i­pate in the church pro­ceed­ings, also con­fess to get in­spired by the im­pact of those sa­cred songs,” rea­sons the faith­ful Ro­man Catholic Christian, who is re­li­giously clung onto his realm of mu­sic.

Fran­cis grew up in close prox­im­ity to a church in his lit­tle- known idyl­lic ham­let called Na­gavalli, sur­rounded by moun­tain- ranges, thick forests and beau­ti­ful lakes, and sit­u­ated 120 kms away from Mysore in Kar­nataka.

To the unini­ti­ated, the sys­tem of church singing is con­ven­tion­ally based on a book from the Holy Bi­ble called ‘ Psalms’, usu­ally sung on cel­e­bra­tory oc­ca­sions as well as dur­ing the Mass ren­di­tions. “It is a com­pul­sory dic­tum that any ditty that has been com­posed must be in ac­cor­dance with the strict rules im­ple­mented by church au­thor­i­ties. In­ci­den­tally, I was asked by the Arch­bishop of Ben­galuru to do the job which was a first- of- its- kind task at hand. It was meant to be in Kan­nada lan­guage and I did not have any ex­em­plary prece­dent to follow as a guide­line. But after three years of hard work, I had set tunes for the ‘ Psalms’ in a singing for­mat and it was ap­proved of by the Litur­gi­cal com­mit­tee for its us­age in the church rit­u­als,” he nar­rates his big­gest achieved feat. With an am­bi­tion up his sleeve to no­tate all spir­i­tual songs and hymns in Kan­nada so that it ben­e­fits the pos­ter­ity in near fu­ture, Fran­cis be­lieves that “God grants ev­ery­one with spe­cial some­thing and that ex­tra­or­di­nary gift must be shared amidst all and sundry. Only then, the whole planet can live in unity, peace and har­mony.”

 ??  ?? Ben­jamin Fran­cis
Ben­jamin Fran­cis

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