Music is not even sound. Sound is just an element the music is carried by. Music is part of the depth of your heart, it’s a mysterious place. It’s part of your spirit, part of your soul. – Oliver Rajamani
BY: Special Guest Writer Kelli Rhodes+
(Austin, TX)- Sept. 2, 2012 – It is not merely happenstance that multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Oliver Rajamani has made Austin his home. His heritage is Indian/Gypsy, the root culture of the Romani Gypsies of Europe and the Gypsies of the MiddleEast. However, his heart is in Texas American country music, and it’s very apparent with the release of his latest CD “Texas Gypsy Fire.” The CD is a fusion of the best of both worlds, and features an eclectic mix of iconic, revered musicians, including Willie Nelson.
The state’s vibrant country songwriters added variety to the soundtrack of Rajamani’s childhood. Growing up, Rajamani was influenced by iconic American Country singers like Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson. “Most people don’t realize there’s a huge country music fanbase in India, my Dad wanted me to sing country music.”
Fast forward to the future, and the current frame of Rajamani’s life portrays a tone of transcendence. Rajamani’s dreams are being made reality through his growing position in the music community as a performer and teacher. “Texas Gypsy Fire” began as a gift to his family, whose record collection inadvertently incubated the inspiration for what would become an acclaimed project. Some of the notable musicians who contributed to the project other than Willie Nelson are Edie Brickell, Eric Johnson, Dale Watson, Cindy Cashdollar, Bob Livingston, Joel Guzman, and Dotschy Reinhardt.
The collective voices of the album portray the crossing of the gypsy and the country story teller. Texas Gypsy Fire portrays both musical forms with a resonating sentiment of nostalgia and history. Rajamani excels and compliments the traditions while still bringing freshness to the past. This apt ability to merge genres has solidified his place in Austin. “The interesting thing about Austin is it allows you to just be who you are and create more from a place of your heart,” Rajamani says. Yet, it took Rajamani much time and self-discovery to reach a point of acceptance that music was his true calling: “I kept trying to not do music, I did every possible job, but I kept coming back to music. Over many years, I realized this is meant for me,” Rajamani told. This final acceptance unveiled a reservoir of opportunities, one of which was his move to Austin and being asked to work with the Honorable Ian F. Hancock, University of Texas Professor and the Representative to the UN (ECO-SOC/NGO Category II) and to UNICEF for the Romani people.
In Nada yoga, which I teach, the yogic science of sound, they say that everywhere there’s rhythm and sound. Everything in your body, from the smallest cell, to the bigger plants, is vibrating – there’s music everywhere.
Since the move, music has infiltrated every facet of Rajamni’s life, breathing into it new depth and meaning. Rajamani has found spiritual balance in integrating the yogic science of sound and mediation in his teaching and performances. He has released a book entitled, the Red Road,* about music being the means to understanding the self. Rajamani’s wife, internationally acclaimed author, lecturer and hypnotherapist Anita Jung, Diplomate of the American Psychotherapy Association (DAPA) and President of the South Texas Clinical Hypnotherapy Association, incorporates his melodic contributions into her work. He also works with children teaching lessons and hosting a world music cultural class.
Rajamani enlightens children on the music of the world, just as Hank Williams and Johnny Cash enlighten him on the truths of the worlds. The cycle continues and it cements Rajamani’s idea that: “As much as it may sound cheesy or silly, there’s truth in the fact that music connects us, it brings us together,” and one could presume, Hank and Johnny would very much agree.
There’s a magic to this whole universe, and our bodies and our minds. That’s what music is. We can experience it but never put it in it’s place.
Oliver Rajamani’s Website: www.oliverrajamani.com
Anita Jung’s Website: http://www.anitajung.com/
About Gypsys in Texas: http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/pxrfh
* the Red Road available at AMAZON.com
+ Guest writer Kelli Rhodes, from Austin Fusion Magazine.