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.
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.”