Dubai: An entire album featuring more than 200 singers specially made for the Holy Week celebrations this year has been released by the head of the Indian Orthodox Church.
Called Sneha Sparsham or The Touch of Love in Malayalam, the album comprises 60 liturgical songs recorded over the 50 days of Lent.
Lent is a solemn religious observance in the Christian liturgical calendar. It begins on Ash Wednesday and ends three days before Resurrection (Easter) Sunday, and running roughly four six weeks.
His Holiness Moran Mar Baselios Marthoma Paulose II, head of the Indian Orthodox Church, released the album at the St Gregorious Orthodox Church in Sharjah.
Sam Thomas, music composer and producer of the album, said the album is special because it is a “musical by ordinary people to an extraordinary God”. Some 18 priests, 29 singers and 180 voices as choir collaborated to bring the album to life. Some singers even recorded the songs from Australia, India, and the US. The album was mixed and mastered in the UAE.
“It’s a multi-collaboration by various artists who are passionate about music but are not in the profession of music. We follow a liturgical tradition, which is more than 2,000 years old. The album is a new reinterpretation of this music, solely arranged and directed by me. I have made them appealing to the new generation without destroying the flavour and essence of the songs,” Thomas told Gulf News.
The singers were chosen through an audition. Some were doctors, nurses, blue-collar workers and from other professions.
“I produced the album because I want to encourage new talents within the church. Also, I want to reinterpret the same songs because we are still following the same old, traditional songs. This is just a paradigm shift that these songs can be sung this way,” he said.
Thomas said his debut album is significant not only in terms of the number of people who contributed to it but also because it is a production done outside the church.
“This album is special for me because it’s one of the first attempts in the Syrian Orthodox Community outside the church. So we took the initiative to do this. All the songs are all my arrangement and my music. It’s like my first baby in the music world.”