Pathbreaking Bhajan Singer & Musician
"I have had the unique opportunity and a great privilege of being an integral part of people's most vulnerable moments and being able to uplift them through my live music. With my uncommon experience of having performed at hundreds of prayer meetings in the last more than a decade, I have managed to touch countless hearts. I feel grateful that some of the most exclusive families from around the country have entrusted me with the tender job of soothing their hearts with my music during the memorials of the departure of their dear ones."
In 2018, mid-day spoke with Krishna Marathe, a Mumbai-based musician who is known to perform at funeral prayer meetings. Since the last time we spoke with her, she has played for some of the most prestigious families, including at the prayer meets for businessmen Rahul Bajaj and Cyrus Mistry recently. Marathe got interested in spiritual music in 2003, and sings chants like “Govinda Hare” and “Gopal Hare” on guitar, in her soothing style. “Usually, prayer meetings are very emotional and make people cry. I don’t agree with that line of singing as people are already grieving and they need to be soothed at that time,” says the 42-year-old. She adds, “That is why my endeavour is to make it as meditative as possible so the people who listen, end up staying till the end.” Besides playing at funerals, Marathe also performs at weddings, corporate events and other private events.
Marathe has played at many funeral prayer meets of various influential business and Bollywood families. Their only brief to her is that they want something peaceful and meditative. "I focus on meditative musical mantras, many of them original compositions. I play music that will calm the crowd, not instigate them to cry," says the 38-year-old. She also says she has been getting job after job for years just because of word-of-mouth. "It's too sensitive an issue for me to market myself."
Aside from the fact that Marathe instils a rock element into the religious chants, what could be seen as interesting here is that she is an atheist herself. "My only focus is on the delivery, and only allegiance is to the music. I have realised this about our spiritual music — it's so big in nature, that it can accommodate all kinds of tweaks. That means that if I add the electric guitar to it, it doesn't change its integrity in any way."
'Music at a funeral should calm, not aim at inciting tears'
Extremely capable live performer
Krishna is not just a guitarist; when clients hire her, they get the whole package of technique, tradition and style