Some of my fondest memories are of the carefree days of my childhood when my cousins and I would gather at my grandmother’s house in summer vacations and spend those hot months just playing out in the open from daybreak to sunset. 

Why am I telling you this story, you ask? 

Let me explain, There’s a neurological condition called Synesthesia in which information meant to stimulate one of your senses stimulates several of your senses.  The word “synesthesia” comes from the Greek words: “synth” (which means “together”) and “ethesia” (which means “perception). Now, one doesn’t necessarily have to have the condition to transcend the barriers of sensory perception to be able to feel that multisensory stimulation. It can either be practised by programming your brain or with meditation and other practices and being an experience curator, I often try to do that or sometimes you come across certain pieces of art or music that make it happen without much effort. The new track by Taal Inc. and Friends, ‘Bele Bele’ did just that for me and what it evoked in me was the story that I shared in the beginning of this piece.

‘Bele Bele’ in its native language means ‘big personality’ and the sound certainly has a big personality of its own. One doesn’t need to be a musical genius or even a critic to feel something deeply and being able to express it. I’m not one, but I feel and I’m trying to rope in the feelings in words.  

Coming back to synesthesia, let me share a little more on what ‘Bele Bele’ made me feel. To begin with, the eclectic and supercharged Djembe played by Varun Venkit certainly made me feel the warmth of long, breathtaking and  endless stretches of African grasslands. 

Accompanied by the velvety guitar tunes played by the genius Sanjay Divecha, the strong earthy fragrance of Sheldon D’Silva’s bass and the robust beats of the drums like a strong cup of coffee by Gino Banks, Bele Bele is a sound that just has something in store for everyone.

Now, I invite you to imagine with me, the coldest place you’ve ever been to and then finding the warmth of your favourite soup or a nice, warm quilt wrapped around you, that’s what the enveloping, balmy voice of the lead vocalist Kalpana Patowry made me feel, accompanied perfectly by the African vocals of Ramya Iyer and Megha Bharadwaj like a stream flowing slowly but steadily in a rainforest. 

And how do I not express my amazement and awe towards the most calming, peaceful and melodious sound of flutes by Gandhar Amin like the mist in the mountains. 

One of the most common forms of synesthesia is colored hearing: sounds, music or voices seen as colors and the brilliant composition of ‘Bele Bele’ certainly made me see the entire spectrum of colours. If you haven’t heard ‘Bele Bele’ yet, do give it a listen right away and give your senses a treat to cherish forever.

Aman Joshi

Taal Inc. Drum Circle Facilitator