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The Maestro’s hands!

Maestro Jerry Amaldev -  Photo owned by: Shevlin Sebastian

Maestro Jerry Amaldev –
Photo owned by: Shevlin Sebastian

There was immense power in his hands … the power to make people perform at their best!

They rose as if to seek permission from the Lord to do his work – he is a spiritual person. They swept out arcs in the air to promote synergy and unison, they were used to applaud, to beseech, even demand and their regular movements defined time; a single chop could create complete silence.

There is magic in the Maestro’s hands!

I have been in the presence of this acclaimed musician and guru just twice and on both occasions what struck me were the power of his hands.

He was not tall – a form that was ideally suited to don a Santa Claus garb. No! He wasn’t portly but his benign demeanor and effusive charm hinted such a possibility. However all that was till he took the stance in front of his choir group and gestured to them to get prepared for a song. He then got transformed into a towering personality, someone who was in complete command and having total control over all that he surveys!

He could pick one wrong note sung by one of the 24 singers in front of him and hear a loud whisper from an errant member of the audience. He would walk up to the pianist and insist with a gesture, much like an Umpire declaring a batsman out, that he wanted more volume in that note. If the pianist didn’t oblige, which he dare not, the Maestro would take the seat and show how  it’s done. Noisy members in the audience were silenced with just a quick glare in their direction – I guess a whisper would sound like cacophonous babble to his sensitive ear.

He could gesture to sections of the choir and get them to fall in line, sometimes a look or a change in expression would do. When he was happy his entire body showed it – there would be lightness in his stride, his head would move from side-to-side with the beat and his body would do a merry jig. He is music!

What gave him that power?

–          A composer at the age of 14,

–          Trained in Carnatic and Hindustani styles,

–          Graduate and Master Degrees from reputed Universities in America,

–          Composer of over 300 songs for Malayalam films, most of which are hits and still popular even though he has not composed a single song for films in the last 15 years.

–          Winner of 3 Kerala State awards for Music Direction.

–          Released innumerable albums of devotional and light music.

–          Consultant and Researcher.

His body of work and his passion for music spoke about his greatness.

The team followed his command because he knew what was best for them and they knew that he wanted them to be at their best. It was a great demonstration of Win – Win!

And what’s more, the man is ever approachable, soft spoken, humble and doesn’t indulge in self – promotion. His oeuvre markets itself!

That was his magic – that humility and self-effacing quality, when he easily could gloat, gave him the power.

Here are the questions I have for the leaders:

–          Do you speak about yourself or do you let your work do it for you?

–          Does your team follow you because they know it’s the best option for them?

–          Does your power come from the Sign pasted on your door or something else?

–          Do you know that every movement, gesture and expression of yours is being analysed?

–          What is your magic? What is the source of your power?

The Maestro creates merry music by the movements of his hands, because his team knows that in them reside years of experience and creative genius and, in his own words, the benediction of the Almighty!

A single chop of the right hand onto the palm of the left-hand would bring a song to an end …. Complete  silence follows!

It’s time for the audience to absorb the magic of the melody that unfolded before them and then do one other obvious thing …… follow the leader and use THEIR HANDS …… to applaud the Maestro’s genius!


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  1. December 8, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    Inspirational, gripping and evangelic! That’s a magnificent character you have drawn, an amazing message you have delivered.

    • JayadevM
      December 8, 2012 at 3:46 pm

      Hi Umashankar

      Yes, Mr. Jerry Amaldev is amazing. You should see him in action.

      Thank you for the appreciation.

  2. Jamy
    December 9, 2012 at 3:25 am

    A master in all respects indeed!! Beautifully laid out article Jay!

    • JayadevM
      December 9, 2012 at 5:06 am

      Thanks, Jamy.

  3. December 10, 2012 at 5:04 am

    Loved reading about the Maestro! The entire universe is conspiring to inspire me!

    • JayadevM
      December 10, 2012 at 6:37 am


  4. Kailash
    December 10, 2012 at 9:14 am

    Gripping and gorgeously written J.

    • JayadevM
      December 10, 2012 at 9:22 am

      Thank you, Kailash!

  5. Harishankar.
    December 23, 2012 at 7:27 pm

    Hello Jayadev, enjoyed reading this very much. And good to know that you too admire this great music director, probably the last of the truly great music directors of the post Baburaj/Devarajan/Swami era in Malayalam. All the others have exited prematurely, M.G.Radhakrishnan, Johnson, Raveendran… And we can only lament at the current state of film music in Kerala.. the kind of trash that today dons the garb of music director (possible exception of one or two..) and the resultant trash that they churn up…

    This probably is not just the case with Malayalam, but can be seen across the country. Thirty years ago, we had songs like “Zindagi Bhar Nahin Bhoolegi Woh Barsaat Ki Raat… ” and now we hear “Fevicol Se” ….

    • JayadevM
      December 24, 2012 at 5:43 pm

      Hi Hari

      I am glad that the article on Mr. Jerry Amaldev brought you to my blog. Yes, he is a master of sound like the others named by you and his show was a great experience.

      The generation of great musicians seems to be over, at least for us; hardly anyone, save 1 or 2, in the current set who come close to the greats we have heard.

      What can we do, other than silently lament, about this slide of music into a terrible abyss of meaningless babble?

      I can’t accept or understand the stuff they offer as “music” these days. We aren’t their target audience but I feel sad for the generation that grows up thinking this is music.

      Let us continue listening to the amazing creations of maestros like Mr. Amaldev and thank them everyday for enriching our lives.

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