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The height Shanker Jaikishen had reached is too far; beyond anyone else’s’ reach, no question about that…

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Sharda Rajan

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The height S J had reached is too far. beyond anyone else’s’ reach… no question about that…
It is all before everyone eyes.. & ears…..Great, great personalities have accepted the fact.
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The music pieces, the range, the varieties of tunes, the orchestration, the use of the violins & other instruments are mind-boggling.
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They were the aadi & anth of a glorious height in music …
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They brought the biggest orchestra to Indian scene ….how they managed it & how they recorded the magnificence with 4/ 5 mikes & limited facilities in recording technics is beyond imagination.
The height of the popularity & the volume of adoration they earned, simply by merit, at a time when there were no boosting & bombarding media, is also unheard &unseen & beyond anyone’s grasp.
They didn’t need any support from anyone, ..no big banners , no superstars were needed to take their music sky high ..Their merit was enough to take not only themselves to great heights but lift everyone who was associated with them to the same heights along with them
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Sebastian & Dattaram were among those who zoomed high riding on the wings of S J.
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When SJ started with Barsaat , which became a musical toofan , with all songs becoming super duper hits, competing with themselves, pushing one another to reach the sky . all of them,
there was no Sebastian or Datta ram ..
They had brought in their first movie only many new technics, setting a new trend.Thereafter raising & higher brought many variations, second track music, counters & fillers, showing India what is a true orchestra..At that period when there were only ‘sa re ga ma pa dha ni music in all the songs, they brought the new western music arrangement to India …They brought the chord arrangements, the counterparts, the backings, the fillers, obligatos & Overtures.
The first, second music, overlapping alaaps, countermelodies arrived in their first movie only .. check with ‘Chodgaye Balam & other songs.
No assistants & arrangers were needed… The macho music has landed in India!
.There were no such backings in the orchestra,………till S J appeared in the music scene.
People knew only simple straightforward music pieces, till S J entry.
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Seb & Dattaram came as arranger & assistant after S J had already reached the glorious heights in music arrangement…
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Sebastian was lucky that Shankerji chose him to be his arranger & now he has got an important place in the music history of India… Any arranger would have got this place if Shankerji had chosen him… It is the S J music that took him to giddy heights & gave him the exclusive boon to shine…
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As I had written earlier that Shankerji’s harmonium would bring out aaaal the new, modern pieces, the new patterns, the heart pulling pieces ..& what Seb had to do was just write them down in the music sheets & place them in the song…..
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Slowly & gradually Seb grasped the S J style & became nr one arranger.

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When someone asked O P ji that how come Sebastian’s work is so great in only S J music, whereas he worked with many other M DS.
I heard or read somewhere that O PJI had replied, that ‘ You have the answer in your question only… It is S J music that makes Sebastian come out great ..’
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What a wonderful reply! A great music director to say this about another great… Only a genius can give praise to another genius in this manner…
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If Sebastian had any hand in the grandeur of S J music, how come he did not bring it out in other MDs music, with whom he worked ..?..He could have made those other MD s also give hundreds of hit songs & demand 5 lacs per movie .. right ..? How come he didn’t do that?
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Sebastian was an arranger, not music maker ..If he was capable of that, we would be having another S J in the name of Sebastian with another sack full of hit songs .. But, no, we are not having that, because Sebastian was no composer. He cannot create music & he had nothing to do with the creations of S J, other than just writing the music & arranging what was already composed.The magnificent pieces & the arrangement of the magical notes are all SJ creations, every bit, A to Z …… No one,s hands were there, no one,s hands could do anything & no one was needed.Actually, who could go near S J caliber? SJ themselves could give the whole world an ocean of music marvels & much much more to so many others..

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All the counters, the seconds, obligatos will come flooding out of Shankerji’s hands . Seb only had to pick those pieces & write them down in the same tempo as Shankerji’s hands.
Gone piece will be gone piece .. it wont come again ….thousands of other pieces are coming out bursting ……….Seb will nowhere lag behind .. Quick in picking up the right piece, written down in a jiffy , he is ready to pick another piece …then to place them all in the song in the right place.

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If he had wanted, Sebastian could have become a music director himself.He had offers… But he knew his limits, he declined the offers he got, saying,’ that is not my job.
If you have the talent of composing, you cannot leave the composing offer.You will jump up &definitely take it .. Means Sebastian did not have the creative instinct in him. He can do a great job in arranging the music which the M D had composed & that is it. He cannot go beyond that. That is why he could not do anything great in his job with other M D s & came out great with only S J.
And he grew with the magic of S J.
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Whereas Sebastian grew with S J music to greater heights, Dattaramji was zigzagging all thro ..
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Dattaramji was just a rhythm player in S J orchestra .which you can see in this photograph in which Jai sab is conducting the rhythm section where Dattaramji is seen playing a rhythm instrument.
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It is again Shankerji’s magnanimity that raised him from a rhythm player to rhythm conductor.
Like always, like with so many other people he had lifted, Shankerji lifted Dattaramji also.
Not only that, he gave him chance to give music in movies with Rajkapoor.
So gracious & big hearted was Shankerji to give such a chance to an assistant … Couldn’t he have taken the movie himself?Have any other M D done like this anytime?

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.Many of the M D s of those times had Hindu assistants who were familiar with classical & light music. Some M Ds might have been telling their assistants to make the music for their songs.Arrangers were mostly Goan Christians & they wrote notations .. not make music .
. But most of our great mds not only just composed all the music but worked for a long time making different pieces & checking, bringing out best music.I have read somewhere Naushad sab saying that he worked more hard in the music than the song. As for S J, sawaal hi nahi uthta hai .. .with the undrying ocean of music roaring within them, where is any chance for any arranger to get in? They had everything composed in excellence, the intro, interval, counters, seconds, fillers, all complete, each & every piece ready for the arranger to write & fix the chords.They had the most brilliant excellent magical music flowing from their hands & they built an ethereal heaven of music which will go on shining in the world forever.
Who was needed to put char chand in their music? They have fixed pacheeson Chands in their hand…No arranger was invited to fix char chand in their compositions …Who could even come close to their melodies & music pieces?
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Seb was required to control the sea of musicians in SJ orchestra, which was growing bigger & bigger all the time. Plus he had to write western notations for the musicians who read western notations.They all have to play at one time & since there were no track recording facilities at that time, conductors were needed to manage the huge orchestra.Seb, s job was to write all the music, place them in the right place as main music or counters, give the sheets to the musicians & lead them to play in unison .
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Dattaramji was also lucky that Shankerji gave him this chance .. Shankerji’s loyalty & steadfast sincerity made him stick to Dattaramji all thro ….though Dattaramji ‘s style slowly was lagging behind & not reaching to the level of the grandeur of S J music.
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SJ brought new styles & variations in rhythm, but they all did not come out due to the lack of a proper rhythm arranger. Shankerji used to play & sing all the patterns while composing the song. The music pieces come out with Sebastian writing down most of them, but rhythm patterns which Shankerji would demonstrate with audiation sounds , by uttering the rhythm patterns by various sound combinations, went missing. You can watch in some interview videos how Shankerji demonstrate rhythm patterns.
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While his tabla dholak arrangements were quite fantastic, Dattaramji was not as fantastic in the beats as to the most modern, rich, new wave music of S J in all those western style modern songs…
With the passage of time & their hit parade raising higher & higher, S J music went on leaping to new heights But Shankerji, let Dattaram conduct the rhythm section in his style which was not rising to the level of the brilliance of S J music & lagged way behind S J magnetism.His tadipas & Dattu tekas were getting outdated & not suitable for the changing times & the latest, futurish music S J went on creating… The new crop of Disco Diggers mushrooming all over wanting to rock with the beats, the drums had to take over the reigns.
If Shankerji had taken another new young rhythm arranger for his western style songs the rhythm would have been much more matching with their magnificent level
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But Shankerji is Shankerji .. he will not hurt anyone .. he will take the hurt himself
He cannot let his associate down ……….& he compromises…
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It would have been so much the merrier if Dattaramji was little more innovative & brought new variations matching those zinging zooming S J tunes instead of sticking to the tadipas…
.There was a Himalayan scope in all those brilliant vibrant melodies of S J, for the rhythm arranger to come out with out of the world beats, variations, styles & patterns.
But sadly Dattaramji stuck to his old style which made some S J lovers turn to other directions..
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Anyway, the power of the high volume magnetism & machoism in S J music is so enormous that it will not be affected by the lack of modern pattern beats. New wave rhythm or old wave rhythm S J dhuns will go swinging all over the world. No one notices or realizes the missing fireworkbeats in the songs.
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Many new crops of rhythm players & conductors would have given the world to get to work with Shankerji.. but with Dattaramji around they would not dare coming close to Shankerji.

We all respect Sebastian & Dattaram.We respect them because they worked with the greats whom we love & respect…Shankerji,s & Jaikishenji.s association have given them this love & respect …who would bother about them if they did not work with SJ & worked with some other MD s? The love for S J is so enormous in all their chahnewale’s hearts that they will love anyone connected with them in any capacity. Does anyone bother about the arrangers & assistants of any other M D ?
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I cannot go praising any persons unjustly ,unduely saying that someone had their hands in S J marvels & give credit to people saying they had inputs in S J music.
I have a conscience, … for God’s sake!
I have watched, the composing, the notation writings, the rehearsals & recordings…………and I can say with my head high before God that S J are the limit in creations & they did everything by themselves & no one did anything in their creations & none had any inputs in their creations ……
Sure . the credit for doing a great job in arranging S J music in grand manner goes to Sebastianji .The understanding , the inner vibes& tuning he developed with S J made him dear to them ..That is all .. No credit for any creative job or having a hand in their music .if I did that to go along with the crowd I will be doing something wrong .

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I don’t know when, how & why Dattaramji left …
But I knew when Sebastian left
. Shankerji tells me, with a heavy heart that Sebastian is leaving.
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I am shocked. I ask ‘ Why? What happened?
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He says ‘ He is retiring .. Going to Goa ‘
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I could not believe it .. How can a professional retire? How will his talent take a bow?
That too leaving Shankerji at this time .. after Jai sab left him?
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‘ Noooo.’ I say .. Don’t let him go ..’
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He says, ‘ I am telling him… He is not listening ‘
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I felt that Seb should not have left Shankerji at this crucial time…
I could not forgive him…How did he have the heart ?…
At least he could have waited until Shankerji found some suitable person.
He was also like one of all those …who let Shankerji down ……..when he was going thro his dark time…This is not the best time for Shankerji to go & try new associations in his work.
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True, it will not affect him, whichever arranger he worked with. But the longtime association, understanding & the rapport Seb shared with Shankerji are something which will not be easy to get from somewhere else, all of a sudden at a testing period of his career.
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Shankerji takes this one & that one for arranging his music …with no proper result or full satisfaction … fighting his battles like a warrior without his chariot or weapon… .
No doubt all those arrangers were brilliant in their jobs … but Shankerji,s extraordinary style is way beyond anyone to cope up with.Gradually all Shankerji’s new creations which were full of verve & vigor suffered without proper handling, accurate arranging & rhythm setting.
..Before he could get the new young talents get acquainted with his magic & come up to match his creativity .. he had to leave this world…
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People say. ‘ Oh . some songs are loud, some songs are not so great ‘
Tell me have you seen anywhere in this whole world any MD who have given nearly 2000 songs . all great & all hits?
If you compose thousands of songs, surely some of them will be little less sparkling…
See the percentage of hits & the number of star-making songs… matchless!
India is richer in music because of S J . If you imagine the music world without S J songs, you will see a bleak picture.
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All artists, stars or singers, dancers or M D s, they all lose their charm after a particular period, though they cannot leave & retire because of their ego or greediness & they go on dragging forcing themselves upon the public with aged faces & voices. The public takes them because of the feelings it has developed for them during the past.
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But Shankerji was not anyone. He was the specially created special genius, with an endless flow of divine music in his hands & brain.
You have not seen the full real glory of his music! What you have seen is not even 1/10nth of his marvels.
How can I tell you what I had witnessed during his composing & notation writing time?
Which pen has the capacity to describe the glory ?
Against all odds, handicapped with the lack of proper understanding assistants, he goes on with his marvelous creations. After Jaikishen, bearing his grief within himself , he comes out in his full charisma continuing the legacy of S J Janda . Left alone in disconcerting times with all sathis leaving him, his musical genius did not leave him. Being his lifeline , it lived with him as long as he lived.
. Whatever, kami some feel, had come in his creations after Jai sab , is not in his creations, It is due to the grade of movies & work of the assistants. His work was as magnificent as ever .
Many M D jodis finish off if one person leaves, K A, LP, Sonic Omi, Nadeem Shravan & as such.
With Shankerji, it was as if Jaikishenji never left him. Shankerji’s music Ganga never stopped flowing…………until end came ………the hands stopped playing & the voice was silenced ………
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Sebastian D’ Souza – The Great Musician, The Great Arranger

Dr. Padmanabh Joshi ji with great arranger SEbastian D' Souza Photo Courtesy : Dr. P.K. Joshi
Dr. Padmanabh Joshi ji with great arranger SEbastian D’ Souza
Photo Courtesy : Dr. P.K. Joshi

 

Dr. Padmanabh Joshi ji with great arranger Sebastian D' Souza Photo Courtesy : Dr. Padmanabh K. Joshi
Dr. Padmanabh Joshi ji with great arranger Sebastian D’ Souza
Photo Courtesy : Dr. Padmanabh K. Joshi

Sebastian D’ Souza – The Great Musician, The Great Arranger

Ask who is Sebastian D’Souza and you may get as many answers as the number of people who venture to give it. Footballer ?,Electrician ? School teacher ? Fr.. Sebastian??
anything but music arranger.
Sebastian D’Souza is easily the most prolific arranger in all of Indian film music. Spanning a career from 1952 – 1974 much of it with the famed duo of Shankar Jaikishan Sebastian created scores for over 125 films and over 1000 songs.. No musical arranger of popular American music let alone Hollywood films of that period can match his output. Sebastian should have been in the Guiness book of secords.Instead a search on google hardly throws up his name.
Volume of output apart, for sheer imagination and variety of orchestrated music Sebastian stands head and shoulders above them all. Sebastian had an imagination not equaled by the same men on whom books have been written and whose names occupied the marquee in the same period Sebastian’s development of harmonic concepts extended across a wide range of Indian, Latin and western instruments to create a unique effect.
While Anthony Gonsalves started that trend, Sebastian carried it on enlarging and embellishing the concept He is largely responsible for changing the entire harmonic structure of the hindi film song to create an extremely listenable full body of sound behind the voice of the singer .And hence a major influence on that era. If you thrill in the songs of that period from ‘Aawara’, ‘Boot Polish’, ‘Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai’, ‘Sangam’,,’Mera Naam Joker’ all from the RK banner and want to hear them over and over again it is invariably because Sebastian was the hidden hand behind their creation.
It is said that Mukesh who playbacked Raj Kapoor had Sebastian select the instruments, provide the counterpoint in Shankar Jaikishan’s melodic structure and create the music behind the star crossed lover portrayed by Raj Kapoor Together with him and his rhythmic partner Dattaram the SJ duo created history. Raj it is said, was close to Sebastian and was present in every recording because Raj believed that what Sebastian did was key to his role. Take away that background music from the RK films and you will plunge into a huge void. Till the late 40s, background music to the singers voice was merely a narrow range of instruments playing the same tune as sung by the singer.There was no concept of counters, fills or cadences. Rhythms employed were very limited. The effect was sonorous. Beginning the 50s, Anthony and Sebastian changed that all.
And how did that happen? Brought up on a staple diet of operas and symphonies of Mozart, Schubert, Haydn,Tchaikovsky which he absorbed, Sebastian employed harmonic variation with telling effect on to hindi film music. Sebastian came to Bombay in search of work from across the border post 1947 and stumbled into hindi films. Before that he was a big band leader in hotels from Allahabad to Mussorie to Lahore where he earned a name for leading the most popular orchestra of that time at the Stiffles hotel.
Starting as a violinist he moved up rapidly. O P Nayyar gave him his break as an arranger with C H Atma’s “Pritam Aan me lo” and later in the film ‘Aasman’. With O P he forged a super relationship and what followed is still on many lips ;the songs and the music from ‘Aar Paar’ ( Sun sun sun sun jalim’), Mr & Mrs 55’( Udhar tum hasin ho idhar dil jawa hai’), Howrah Bridge (‘ Mera naam chin chin choo,chin chin choo’) and so many more….each a classic not equaled fifty years after their time. Creativity such as this is genius and geniuses are sometimes known to be irregular, erratic and difficult with time being their first victim. Not so with Sebastian who was known to be regular, consistent, methodical and disciplined. With strong writing skills, he invariably created and translated what was going in his head into written scores on the spot in the studio for the orchestral sections and the soloists and adjusted them while rehearsing. Usually, one song took a day .But it is said that on one occasion Sebastian
created 5 songs in a day traveling to different studios across the city .
But these are just snippets. Take another glance at his history sheet .Consider these; ‘Aaja sanam, madhur chandni mein hum’;,’Yeh raat bheegi bheegi’ from Chori Chori. ‘Teri yaad dil se bulane chale hum’ from ‘Hariyali aur Rasta’. ‘Dost dost na raha’ from ‘Sangam’, ‘Aae malik there bande hum’ from ‘Do Aankhen Bara Haath’, Aaja re.. pardesi’ from Madhumati.’Aansoo bahri hain yeh jeevan ki raahen’
From N Dutta’s Chandni ki Deewar’ listen closely to Talat’s song ‘Ashkon ne jo paya hai’. The violins play in three sections, embellished by a vibraphone and cellos behind Talat’s voice. The sadness of the lyric is captured in one of the most poignant violin solos in the annals of hindi film music.
It is said that Jaikishan was so taken up with Sebastian’s counters and fills he put together all of those and hey presto he had created a brand new song. Sebastian worked tirelessly till 1974. The advent of Bhappi Lahiri and styles of that kind did not call for his skills. A self effacing man who spoke less and did more, he quietly retired to Goa and began a new life teaching children, away from the stars and the greats whom he had helped create .Little did the children whom he taught quietly, know that they had the wisdom and experience of an all time great. Shocked they were, when journalists, musicians and aficionados of the music world would descend on Sebastian’ s modest home to sit at the feet of the man and reminisce. As the children grew up they were amazed that he was the same person behind all those wonderful songs.
When he died, he instructed that no money be spent on his funeral and all that was saved should go to charity; such is the modesty of greats. Sebastian left behind a rich musical legacy which will live into generations after his time. As so often happens to modest, silent and quiet achievers in India, he received no honours from the city of Bombay where he lived created and worked but a belated award from his home state of Goa.
Thanks to Ajay Kanagat ji

Sebastian D’ Souza – The Great Musician, The Great Arranger

Image
Ask who is Sebastian D’Souza and you may get as many answers as the number of people who venture to give it. Footballer ?,Electrician ? School teacher ? Fr.. Sebastian??
anything but music arranger.
Sebastian D’Souza is easily the most prolific arranger in all of Indian film music. Spanning a career from 1952 – 1974 much of it with the famed duo of Shankar Jaikishan Sebastian created scores for over 125 films and over 1000 songs.. No musical arranger of popular American music let alone Hollywood films of that period can match his output. Sebastian should have been in the Guiness book of  secords.Instead a search on google hardly throws up his name.
Volume of output apart, for sheer imagination and variety of orchestrated music Sebastian stands head and shoulders above them all. Sebastian had an imagination not equaled by the same men on whom books have been written and whose names occupied the marquee in the same period Sebastian’s development of harmonic concepts extended across a wide range of Indian, Latin and western instruments to create a unique effect.
While Anthony Gonsalves started that trend, Sebastian carried it on enlarging and embellishing the concept He is largely responsible for changing the entire harmonic structure of the hindi film song to create an extremely listenable full body of sound behind the voice of the singer .And hence a major influence on that era. If you thrill in the songs of that period from ‘Aawara’, ‘Boot Polish’, ‘Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai’, ‘Sangam’,,’Mera Naam Joker’ all from the RK banner and want to hear them over and over again it is invariably because Sebastian was the hidden hand behind their creation.
It is said that Mukesh who playbacked Raj Kapoor had Sebastian select the instruments, provide the counterpoint in Shankar Jaikishan’s melodic structure and create the music behind the star crossed lover portrayed by Raj Kapoor Together with him and his rhythmic partner Dattaram the SJ duo created history. Raj it is said, was close to Sebastian and was present in every recording because Raj believed that what Sebastian did was key to his role. Take away that background music from the RK films and you will plunge into a huge void. Till the late 40s, background music to the singers voice was merely a narrow range of instruments playing the same tune as sung by the singer.There was no concept of counters, fills or cadences. Rhythms employed were very limited. The effect was sonorous. Beginning the 50s, Anthony and Sebastian changed that all.
And how did that happen? Brought up on a staple diet of operas and symphonies of Mozart, Schubert, Haydn,Tchaikovsky which he absorbed, Sebastian employed harmonic variation with telling effect on to hindi film music. Sebastian came to Bombay in search of work from across the border post 1947 and stumbled into hindi films. Before that he was a big band leader in hotels from Allahabad to Mussorie to Lahore where he earned a name for leading the most popular orchestra of that time at the Stiffles hotel.
Starting as a violinist he moved up rapidly. O P Nayyar gave him his break as an arranger with C H Atma’s “Pritam Aan me lo” and later in the film ‘Aasman’. With O P he forged a super relationship and what followed is still on many lips ;the songs and the music from ‘Aar Paar’ ( Sun sun sun sun jalim’), Mr & Mrs 55’( Udhar tum hasin ho idhar dil jawa hai’), Howrah Bridge (‘ Mera naam chin chin choo,chin chin choo’) and so many more….each a classic not equaled fifty years after their time. Creativity such as this is genius and geniuses are sometimes known to be irregular, erratic and difficult with time being their first victim. Not so with Sebastian who was known to be regular, consistent, methodical and disciplined. With strong writing skills, he invariably created and translated what was going in his head into written scores on the spot in the studio for the orchestral sections and the soloists and adjusted them while rehearsing. Usually, one song took a day .But it is said that on one occasion Sebastian
created 5 songs in a day traveling to different studios across the city .
But these are just snippets. Take another glance at his history sheet .Consider these; ‘Aaja sanam, madhur chandni mein hum’;,’Yeh raat bheegi bheegi’ from Chori Chori. ‘Teri yaad dil se bulane chale hum’ from ‘Hariyali aur Rasta’. ‘Dost dost na raha’ from ‘Sangam’, ‘Aae malik there bande hum’ from ‘Do Aankhen Bara Haath’, Aaja re.. pardesi’ from Madhumati.’Aansoo bahri hain yeh jeevan ki raahen’
From N Dutta’s Chandni ki Deewar’ listen closely to Talat’s song ‘Ashkon ne jo paya hai’. The violins play in three sections, embellished by a vibraphone and cellos behind Talat’s voice. The sadness of the lyric is captured in one of the most poignant violin solos in the annals of hindi film music.
It is said that Jaikishan was so taken up with Sebastian’s counters and fills he put together all of those and hey presto he had created a brand new song. Sebastian worked tirelessly till 1974. The advent of Bhappi Lahiri and styles of that kind did not call for his skills. A self effacing man who spoke less and did more, he quietly retired to Goa and began a new life teaching children, away from the stars and the greats whom he had helped create .Little did the children whom he taught quietly, know that they had the wisdom and experience of an all time great. Shocked they were, when journalists, musicians and aficionados of the music world would descend on Sebastian’ s modest home to sit at the feet of the man and reminisce. As the children grew up they were amazed that he was the same person behind all those wonderful songs.
When he died, he instructed that no money be spent on his funeral and all that was saved should go to charity; such is the modesty of greats. Sebastian left behind a rich musical legacy which will live into generations after his time. As so often happens to modest, silent and quiet achievers in India, he received no honours from the city of Bombay where he lived created and worked but a belated award from his home state of Goa

AJAY KANAGAT