Sailaja Sree Parasa • Aug 15, 2020
COVID-19 has drastically changed our lifestyles; however, it has also brought us closer to God by proving his omnipresence. He is ever so available to listen to our offerings through various mediums.
Pre-Covid, we had in-person devotional bhajan offerings for Swami every Sunday, but since the shelter-in-place orders, we haven’t been able to meet to sing His glory!
During this time, one day, my sister sent me karaoke recordings of her singing old film songs. As I was listening, a thought flashed into my mind, “How about bhajan karaoke? Do we have anything like that?”. My understanding so far was that Karaoke was only meant for film songs.
Next day during my Pooja, I asked Swami, “Swami, is there a bhajan karaoke?” and then simply forgot about this thought. A week later, the Fremont Sai Center officers came across the bhajan karaokes available on Radio Sai. When the officers announced that we would be using this resource, I was thrilled!!! I immediately looked at Swami and thanked him with immense gratitude. Once again, Swami proved that He is hridayavasi, and He is watching and listening to all our thoughts.
In the beginning...
Initially, we used two devices: a Laptop and a phone. The Laptop was used to listen to karaoke tracks and the phone was used to record our bhajans. This started with fewer-than-ideal center member participation, but eventually with Swami’s guidance and the excellent subsequent support of all the members, we were successfully able to complete recording bhajan karaokes for almost 5 volumes. At first, our center officers coordinated the members to get signups for the tracks. After a couple of volumes, I was asked to help coordinate the bhajans. As per Swami’s will, I took the opportunity and coordinated weekly bhajan practice, regularly collaborated with our karaoke team of singers and the audio team to ensure we were on the schedule for our weekly devotional offering. Throughout the entire collaboration I felt very joyful. This journey of practicing and offering bhajans to Swami regularly immensely satisfied our souls. We connected with Swami continuously, experienced the bliss of bhajan singing, and had the opportunity to learn so many new bhajans.
Recording with a computer and phone.
Bandlab from a user perspective is a very simple application which is browser-based and easy to use.
Setting up with BandLab
Recording a Bhajan
Step-1: When you enter the “Editor” mode of the bhajan, please click “Add Track”. You will see that a new track has been created for you to record the bhajan.
As the video shows, singers can now listen to the track live, and record exactly at the points that they should, helping the audio mixers align the track, get the right timing and have the ability to redo very easily if there are mistakes. Moreover, this approach of listening to our center members lead a Bhajan and then follow along with others' voices recreates the feeling of familiar communal singing that we so long for! Thank you Swami!