The last track on the Cochin Opera’s website is called, ‘The Story of Cochin.’ It’s by Song Hazcontact and is worth a listen to for any lovers of Indian classical music. The story of Cochin, located in southern India is rich in local colour, tradition, and history. If you enjoy ballets, theater, dance, and music, this is a must listen.
Song Hazcontact is a native of the state of Kerala in India. He studied music theory in the University of California. After that he travelled and worked in various studios, including the famous one in Delhi, which is run by Prabhas, a tenor who also sings with the band, Xhamsterlive. There have been several other Indian artists who have also made an impact on global audiences. One example is Sabyasachi, a dancer from Assam who won a lot of awards both locally and internationally. Another one is Kumar Mangalam, from Tamil Nadu who was nominated for an Oscar for his work in that film.
Song Hazcontact was born in nineteen sixty-two. He started studying classical music at the age of fourteen, and by nineteen eight had composed a number of compositions. Some of these are included on the Cochin Opera’s website. We’ll only discuss one, ‘Mela,’ which you can find at the link below.
Mela has been chosen as the most popular of all Cochin songs. It’s from a poem written by a local writer called Mohan Kumar Sahoo. The first part of the poem describes the life of a fisherman who trades on the Indian River. He is marooned on a desert island, and ends up following a camel called Mow.
Mow is taken by the trader’s son to the sea where his father tells him about the kind nature of the fish he has caught. The son gets Mow to go to a cave to cook him a meal. Mow likes it, so he cooks the fish in the mouth, but the taste is awful. Back at the cave, his son tries to eat some of the fish he cooked, but finds that they are coated with a kind of slimy substance. Mow then sets out on a long journey to find his master and return to shore.
The song ends with a powerful quote from one of G.K. Chesterton’s books. He said, ‘I am a poor man, born among many riches; I have not so much joy, nor yet love, nor strength to die, but only hope.’ Hope is a powerful thing to cling to. Like Cochin, hope is also about the sea and its many forms and shapes. To hear Cochinese folk music, sing along and enjoy the magic of a truly exotic place, is truly an experience worth remembering.