*this work is in consortium. If you would like to join the consortium (deadline: October 20, 2023) please contact us at [email protected]
Sunaao is a set of three pieces designed to introduce young choirs to the Hindi/Urdu language. Aao beckons us to share our musical traditions with one another, exploring changing open vowels. Khattar Pattar uses a distinctive style of Hindi/Urdu onomatopoeia to describe how we sometimes let our thoughts run out of control. Behta Jaa invites us to lean into ease and levity, to not be too hard on ourselves, as it contrasts dark and light sounds.
The word “sunaao” literally translates as “have me listen”, but is closer in meaning to “tell me” or “sing for me”. It is the act of engaging someone in a sonic experience by listening to others, of sharing and hearing sounds that are meaningful to us with others. Each song is designed to teach linguistic concepts of Hindi, musical concepts of Hindustani music, and to remind us to approach new ideas from a place of curiosity instead of judgment.
(all text written by Reena Bhansali)
Aa-ke dhun sunaao
Apni avaaz le-aao
Alag andaaz dikhaao
Come and sing us a tune
Bring your own voice
And show us a different style
II. Khattar Pattar
Baahar se cheezen aayi – khattar pattar
Zamaane se baatein aayi – chakkar chakkar
Khattar pattar ko peeche choṛ
Dekh chakkar chakkar bhi ruk gaya shor
Things come in from the outside – cling, clang
Chatter comes in from the world/times – spinning, spinning
Leave that cling-clanging behind you
See? The spinning has stopped, and so has the noise
III. Behta Jaa
Na-daal khud pe tu zyaada zor
Bhool jaao duniya ka yeh saara shor
Nadi ke saath behta jaa
Havaa ke saath uṛta jaa
Don’t be too hard on yourself
Forget the noise of the world
Go on flowing with the river
Go on flying with the wind
recording will be available after the premiere
Special Performance Requirements
This work is designed specifically for youth choirs, and is available in SATB, SSAA and SAB arrangements. Each movement is in modern Hindi/Urdu, and audio guides are available to contextualize each of the pieces, both in language and style.
There is no need for any previous knowledge of Hindi or Hindustani music to perform this work: if this is your or your students’ first time encountering this language or style of singing – welcome! This is a great place to begin.
I will also say: if there is someone in your choir who is a native speaker of Hindi/Urdu (or even another South Asian language), this is a wonderful chance to utilize their abilities. It will be very easy for them to hear and coach correct pronunciation (especially of the ड़ sound, which is featured prominently in these pieces.)
At this time, audio guides are available for those in the commissioning consortium. Please contact us at [email protected] if you are part of the consortium and have not already received access to the audio guides.