September 09/03/23, 2023
The music of India is amazing to my Western ears, diverse and inspiring, also complex and steeped in history. All that matters is whether you like the music, as I do. One can always enjoy all seventeen tracks of this sound without knowing much about it. I am a curious listener and constantly seek to find out more. Blending traditional ideas with modern technology, what I love most about this album is the voice gliding upon the foundation of beats and melodic magic.
Jay Singh, aka J2, is the successful record producer and composer behind Indian Trap. Jay rose to prominence after winning the prestigious Ministry of Sound DJ Idol Competition in 2002. He has since produced and remixed songs for various artists, including LL Cool J, Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Lil Wayne, and Madonna. He burst on the pop music scene as J2 with the release of the smash hit “Dare La La La,” which he co-wrote and produced for Shakira’s 10th studio album; the track debuted in the Top 10 of most international charts. A reworked version titled “La La La” Brazil” was the official theme song for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, and is featured on the One Love, One Rhythm World Cup album. The song was also used in a T-Mobile commercial and Shakira’s Activia commercial, which became the most shared advertisement of 2014 and has over 2 billion streams to date. J2’s compositions have appeared in over 100 films, trailers, video games, television shows, and advertisements. They gathered over 250 million streams across YouTube and other major DSPs.
Subramanian Jaya Jananiy, known all over the world as S. J. Jananiy, is a Multi Global Award-Winning versatile musician, composer (Indian Classical and Western Classical), Playback Singer, Performer, Songwriter, Music Director, Music Producer, Record Producer, Keyboardist, Independent Artist and Research Scholar. She is also a Musical Ambassador and Advisory Board Outreach Ambassador for Project Peace on Earth. As a youngster, keenly watching her uncle playing keyboard and guitar, she started to play the keyboard whenever she sang. She started acquiring knowledge in music through her uncle’s guidance and support. After her school time, she simply loved to sing along with karaoke and grew up listening to A.R.Rahman’s soundtracks, where she got familiar with chord progressions which she learned to play on the keyboard. She has given around 1000 stage shows and concerts. She has given around 100 Carnatic classical keyboard concerts.
S. J. and her uncle designed the concept-series Classic Waves — beginning with Kannan songs in Tamil in 2007, including traditional songs for which Jananiy conducted, arranged and produced music that is the Fusion album series. This concept fetched them good recognition and became a popular number. Next they presented Classic Waves 2 — Silambosai (2010), Classic Waves 3 — Hit songs on Lord Shiva (Label:JSJ Audio- 2011), Classic Marvel (1, 2, 3, 4 , concept-series); and with respect to Carnatic classical, Classic Hits in Keyboard, Pancharatna Krithis in Keyboard and Kannan songs in Keyboard, and Chants were her other albums.
She has composed music for the Tamil Movie “Prabha,” the audio was launched during August 2015. She continues to compose music and she sings for a number of private albums, short films and some advertisements. She now has her own rapidly growing music business, she has so far released around 70 music albums under her JSJ Audio label, including such specialties as Carnatic Classical Vocal, Carnatic Classical Keyboard, Devotional, Fusion, New Age, Indian Pop, Electronic Pop and Contemporary music.

I am not familiar with Hindu traditions and mythology, so to get deeper into understanding what I am hearing, I did a simple review of Wikipedia just as you could do, looking up interesting words and terms. Here is a short version of what I have discovered.
The word Mantra might be translated as “tool of thought” in Sanskrit. Mantras are recited to overcome the problems and obstacles of life, and are intended as prayers for the commencement of a particular event, like marriage, always on the occasion of childbirth, as a cure for an illness, to improve a sour relationship, or simply to begin any auspicious ceremony without hindrance.
When we repeat a mantra, we direct our energy inward, allowing us to connect with our deeper selves and gain greater control over our minds; mantra chanting, or singing, has helped millions of people improve their lives and effect positive change. Imagine that matter is vibration and the cosmos is sound. Mantras are prayers that harmoniously vibrate with the universe.
There are some animated versions of some of the MANTRAS tracks available for watching on Indian Trap's YouTube channel, https://www.youtube.com/@IndianTrap
J2 has thought alot about this fantastic opportunity to blend the ancient traditions with modern beats. “Three thousand years old mantras that go right to the heart of matter and contemporary music that has emerged from the streets, from ordinary people… we’re talking about roots. Music is the medicine for the soul, Plato said. At its best, music is a cosmic energy that removes negativity and obstacles, bringing peace, focus and satisfaction to all who listen. Ever heard of Bach? The journey may be long, but we are on the right track. Mantras are prayers that ‘vibe’ with the universe," muses Indian Trap. "What better lyrics can a composer ask for? Jananiy brought the mantras, and I brought my music!"

Before jumping in any deeper, seven of the tracks are “Bija” (pronounced beej) mantras, with chakra themes layered between the deity stories, glowing and rising, the journey begins with a prayer bell and takes form with what sounds to me like an invocation… “Muladhara (1st Chakra Root C — LAM)” (2:22)
The English name for muladhara is root chakra. It is symbolized by a lotus with four petals and the color pink or red. The term muladhara comes from the Sanskrit mula, meaning “root,” and adhara, meaning “support” or “base.” The Root Chakra is the foundation of the physical structure of the body. Balancing this chakra is said to form the supportive foundation for higher spiritual development.
Now the music is taking a new form, I hear chimes and complex layering of multi tracked voices and beats, blending rhymes and traditions… “Parvati Mantra” (3:21). Parvati is a Hindu goddess, a daughter of the Lord of the Mountains and Queen Mena. Parvati is known for her devotion to Lord Shiva, and it is thought that chanting her mantras will confer this devotion to your own relationships. Parvati is depicted in various forms and is revered as a symbol of feminine power and grace. She is the gentle and nurturing aspect of the goddess energy. Full of kindness and compassion, this represents the symbol of divine strength, power, love, and productiveness. As a goddess of family and love, she is the ideal entity to turn to for help with marriage, parenting, and fertility.
As an element of Maha Shakti, the mother of the cosmos, Parvati is connected to both the universal and individual energies of creation. The Parvati mantra comes in different forms, each with its own benefits, and is often used interchangeably with Shakti mantras. Parvati is the defender and origin of the cosmos and all of humankind. It is said that these divine powers have created this earth and we are simply the living beings residing on this planet.
Next a more complex combination of the story being sung and the playful percussion weaving a delightful track, to me the sound is imploring and invoking… “Ganesh Mantra” (3:42). Lord Ganesha is the god of knowledge and wisdom, who appears in many ways, but according to popular belief, can be seen with the head of an elephant with the trunk resting upon his human body, and his plump belly protruding out. He has four arms, each arm has a different function. The upper hands hold a noose (Pasha) and an ax (goad). The bottom hands have different roles too. One of the hands is making the Abhay Mudra sign, while the other hand is holding a bowl full of modak.
The word “mudra” is Sanskrit for “seal” or “sign,” and takes the form of hand positions. Each mudra has a specific meaning. The Abhaya Mudra is a sacred hand gesture that symbolizes fearlessness, peace, and protection. Modak is a sweet dumpling dish popular in many Indian states and cultures.
Again the prayer bell sounds, I hear a distant male voice chanting OM and joins the female voice in a new invocation, a sweet blending of chants… “Swadhisthana (2nd Chakra Sacral D — VAM)” (2:22). The word Swadhisthana is derived from two Sanskrit words, “Swa” meaning self and “Adhishthana” meaning established. “Swadhisthana” means something like one’s own abode, a personal space for supporting the personal expansion and exploration of sexuality, desires, and creativity. The Sacral Chakra is linked with emotion and the unconscious.
Now I think I hear more electronic processing on the opening voices, with a very catchy new bump ta bump ta beat that lifts the whole assembly, lightly gliding and playfully bouncing about the voices push and pull on the tricky beat foundation… “Saraswati Mantra” (3:43)
Saraswati is the Hindu Goddess of Learning, Music, Craft, Wisdom, Arts, and Auspiciousness. She is honored as the Mother of Vedas and teaching, singing, skill, knowledge, disciplines, and grace. She is depicted as a beautiful fair Goddess with Four arms, wearing a spotless white saree and seated on a white lotus. Her four arms represent the four aspects of human personality in learning: mind, intellect, alertness, and ego. The sound is direct and compelling, the voices mix like a human flute dancing on the notes, sometimes bending with emotion, I hear the passion build as the voice darts about.
The next track is titled “Gayatri Mantra” (3:21) It is believed that by chanting the Gayatri mantra and firmly establishing it in the mind, if you carry on your life and do the work that is ordained for you. Your life will be full of happiness, you will accumulate spiritual light, and that you will not only raise your own vibratory level but also the levels of those around you, your family and friends, your circle of acquaintances, and the entire global community. The sound of the Gayatri mantra brings us back to our own true nature, which is pure consciousness itself. It reminds us that we are already perfect beings, and that we have been given everything we need to manifest our highest potential. We remember that we are divinely connected to the universe, and that we are blessed by its abundance.
J2 shares more of his insights, “Listening to the “Gayatri Mantra” really helps me in improving my concentration and creativity. It allows me to enhance my productivity and aids me to take my music production to the next level. I have always considered myself a sound designer. When I learned that the Shaivite Hindu tradition believes that matter is vibration and the cosmos is sound, it got me thinking. We talk about someone having great vibes, don’t we? Don’t we say that some people vibe well together? These seemingly trivial words have a profound meaning. Mantras are prayers that vibe with the universe. What better lyrics can a composer ask for? Jananiy brought the mantras and I brought my music.”
A new calling emerges, across the prayer bell I hear melodic almost groaning and imploring, eventually building and rising… “Manipura (3rd Chakra Solar Plexus E — RAM)” (2:22). “Manipura” is a Sanskrit word which is roughly translated as “city of jewels.” It also translates to “lustrous gem” or “resplendent gem.” The position of Manipura is stated as being behind the navel. Manipura is the place where upward flowing spiritual energy or prana, and Apana (downward flowing pranic energy) meet. This chakra is associated with fire and the power of transformation. It is also believed to have a magnetic effect, attracting prana from the universe. The Manipura chakra acts as the marrow of personal power. Manipura is often associated with the colors yellow, blue in classical tantra, and red in the Nath tradition.
In the mix I think I hear a strange squeeling voice, the song begins softly and then works up to calling and shouting, the beat is staggered and complex… “Vishnu Mantra” (3:03) is the ideal mantra to recite before commencing any major task. Vishnu is considered the preserver of the Universe, and is known for his acts of slaying demons and saving humankind. The many hands of Vishnu always carry objects representing the things he is responsible for, such as a Lotus flower as an example of a glorious existence and liberation, a mace which represents mental and physical strength, a conch shell which produces the sound ‘Om’ and represents the primeval sound of creation, and the Wheel of Auspicious Vision, a disc which symbolizes the mind.
Vishnu is one of the principal deities of Hinduism and is known as the Preserver. Vishnu is usually shown with a human body, but with blue skin and four arms. His hands are usually each carrying an object, all with symbolic meaning. The physical existence of Vishnu is represented by the two arms in the front, while the two arms at the back represent his presence in the spiritual world. Whenever the world is threatened with evil, chaos, and destructive forces, Vishnu descends in the form of an avatar to restore the cosmic order, and protect dharma. Dharma is the cosmic law underlying right behavior and social order.
Now I hear the calling and weaving with the beats, the voice is spectacular and there is what sounds to me like a comical cartoon voice in the mix, as always the beats are sizzling and steady… “Shiva Mantra (Om Namah Shivaya)” (3:36) “Shiva Mantra” was picked up as a favorite track for TikTok’s popular yoga #BalanceChallenge
The figure of Shiva today is a combination of various older deities into a single figure. Shiva is often pictured with a serpent around his neck, beneath the adorning crescent moon, the holy river Ganga flows from his matted hair, and the third eye on his forehead is closed, this is the eye that turns everything in front of it into ashes when opened. The trishula or trident is his physical weapon, and he often holds the damaru drum, which is used in meditation practices.
Again the prayer bell sounds and I hear a signifying voice building the story and calling together the forces… “Anahata (4th Chakra Sacred Heart F — YAM)” (2:22) and Anahata is represented by a lotus flower with twelve petals. Inside there is a smoky region at the intersection of two triangles, creating a shatkona. The shatkona is a symbol used in Hindu Yantra, representing the union of male and female. Anahata is the Sanskrit term used for the heart chakra. In Sanskrit, anahata means “unhurt, unstruck, and unbeaten” and is associated with balance, calmness, and serenity. Anahata is associated with the ability to make decisions outside the realm of karma. It is the fourth primary chakra and serves as our center of love for oneself and others, compassion, empathy and forgiveness. It refers to the serene state Samadhi which is related to the continuous sound of the heart region.
I hear chanting voices with a ceremonial dancing beat, always calling, always a calm steady beat… “Lakshmi Mantra” (3:33). Lakshmi is the divine consort of Lord Vishnu the preserver of the universe. But that is not all she is, to many she is the divine force that helps Vishnu maintain the universe. She is often depicted in red clothes and adorned with gold jewelry. She has a calm and soothing expression, and is always seen with a lotus in her hand which signifies her as the symbol of Beauty. Her four hands represent the four goals of human life considered important to the Hindu way of life — Dharma (Righteousness and Duty) Kama (Worldly Desires), Artha (Wealth and Prosperity) and Moksha (Salvation). Her palms are always open and sometimes coins are seen pouring from them signifying that she is the source of wealth and prosperity. She is shown sitting or standing on a lotus in a beautiful garden or in the blue-ocean. Around her are either two or four white elephants giving Her ‘Abhishekam’ with the water. Her ‘Vahana’ or riding mounts are a white elephant and an owl.
Now the strength of the pace increases, the voices call and respond back and forth then combine into greater strength, I feel a dancing lightness with calling and proclaiming… “Durga Mantra (Om Katyayanaya Vidmahe)” (3:15) The Goddess Durga is said to be one of the most powerful deities in the Hindu religion. She is also known by the name of Devi or Shakti which in Hindi means ‘woman’ and ‘power’ respectively. The word Durga in Sanskrit means ‘a fort’ which symbolizes the fact that Goddess Durga is the epitome of strength and womanhood. Other times Goddess Durga is referred to as Durgati Nashini which translates to ‘the one who eliminates suffering.’ She treats her worshippers just like a mother treats her children. She loves in a most caring way and she is equally likely to get angry when required. Goddess Durga blesses her worshippers with strength, patience and many such virtues, but she destroys the things that need to be destroyed. This mantra begins with the word Om, which is the main mantra of all mantras. It is a salute to Maa Durga in her form as Katyayani, the sixth form of Durga. Goddess Durga is also known as Shakti or Devi, the protective mother of the universe and the embodiment of true womanhood; she is also worshipped as the one who eliminates suffering. She is the most powerful deity and protects all that is good and harmonious in the world. It is believed that by chanting her mantras, one can protect themselves from evil and negativity; she blesses her children by helping them overcome all misfortunes and evils.
Change comes, I hear the bell and a voice calling, the suspense grows, in the mix a male voice chants OM and a song forms from the emerging fragments… “Vishuddha (5th Chakra Throat G — HAM)” (2:22). Vishuddha is often associated with the thyroid gland in the human endocrine system. This gland is in the neck, and produces hormones essential for growth and maturation. In its most abstract form, Vishuddha is associated with higher discrimination and is associated with creativity and self-expression. It is believed that when Vishuddha is open, negative experiences are transformed into wisdom and learning. When Vishuddha is closed, a person undergoes decay and death. Due to its position, it is known as the throat Chakra. According to Hindu tradition, this chakra is described as having a “white color” with sixteen purple or smoke-colored petals.
Here the beat slides and solidifies the voices… “Krishna Mantra” (3:36) and Krishna is often depicted wearing a silk golden yellow dhoti, and a peacock feather crown. In this form, he usually stands with one leg bent in front of the other in the Tribhanga posture, the snake Kaliya with its numerous hoods symbolizes the numerous desires we have. Sri Krishna’s splendor is that he was the greatest speaker of our timeless faith and the greatest interpreter of Hinduism. The Krishna mantra can be recited to obtain greater compassion, mental control, and self-understanding. The expertise, trust, confidence, and practice of the individual chanting the mantra make it potent. The chanting of Sri Krishna’s mantras is said to be a powerful cleansing gesture.
Now again the bell and the crying voices are slowly rising and then a burst of rapid singing and calling out… “Ajna (6th Chakra Third Eye A — OM)” (2:22) The Ajna chakra or third eye chakra is located in the center of the forehead between the eyebrows. The third eye is said to connect people to their intuition, give them the ability to communicate with the world, or help them receive messages from the past and the future. It is not a part of the physical body but considered to be part of the pranic system and is considered the eye of intuition and intellect. Its associated sense organ is the mind.
Eventually I hear a very strange rhythm, maybe this is an odd twisted science fiction machine, eventually leveling off to tell the story… “Kali Mantra” (3:00). The Goddess Kali looks frightening, the eyes of Kali are red in color which depicts rage. Her hair is shown disheveled, small fangs sometimes protrude out of her mouth and her tongue is lolling. The Goddess wears a skirt made of human arms and a garland which is made of human heads. The four-arm form of kali stands on the calm and prostate Shiva. All her four hands hold a different thing, mainly a sword, a Trishul (trident), a severed head, and a bowl or skull-cup (kapala) catching the blood of the severed head. The word Kali comes from the Sanskrit word Kala, which means time. Kali is the divine Protector of Earth, also known as Kalika is a Hindu goddess, but due to her destructive powers Kali is also known as “Dark Mother.” She represents Time, Change, Power, Creation, Preservation and Destruction.
Here I hear the bell and the invocation calls out to conclude the journey, we are at the top of the head… “Sahasrara (7th Chakra Crown B — AH)” (3:00). The Sahasrara or crown chakra is found on the top or the crown of the head, located precisely four finger widths above the crown of the head, residing in the “plane of truth and reality.” The chakra is violet in color. This energy center controls our connection to spirit, and our sense of universal consciousness, wisdom, unity and self-knowledge. Sahasrara is the 7th major chakra in tantric yoga traditions. Sahasrara is translated from Sanskrit meaning “thousand-petaled lotus,” literally because of the symbol’s lotus that has 1,000 petals. Sahasrara is aligned to seek an intimate relationship with the universe.
Now I feel calm and satisfied having addressed these ten major deities and the seven chakras. What I like most about the sound are the distinctive tempos and the acrobatic vocals, which bring history to life and provide a catchy framework to elevate these amazing traditions. This epic achievement belongs as much with the pop rotation club as it does with the soulful yoga and songs for traditional practitioners.
Jananiy’s vocals increasingly fulfill a prophecy put forth in 2018 by Indie Pulse Music, who wrote, “She has an astonishing voice and deceptive range — a brief perusal of her professional résumé might suggest, to the uninformed, that she is a singer whose sound is strongly connected to the Indian world, but that’s not the case. Jananiy has a voice ready for the global pop stage, capable of intense emotional shifts, and flawlessly tuned into the song’s musical demands. Many listeners will marvel at the control she exerts over her vocal instrument…”
The music never stops.

LINKS
Multi-platforms: https://ffm.to/k58wjk4
S. J.: https://sjjananiy.com/
S.J. social links: https://www.flowcode.com/page/jananiysj
India Trap: https://www.indiantrap.com/
The Videos: https://www.youtube.com/@IndianTrap

Track listing
1. Muladhara (1st Chakra Root C - LAM) 2:22
2. Parvati Mantra 3:21
3. Ganesh Mantra 3:42
4. Swadhisthana (2nd Chakra Sacral D - VAM) 2:22
5. Saraswati Mantra 3:43
6. Gayatri Mantra 3:21
7. Manipura (3rd Chakra Solar Plexus E - RAM) 2:22
8. Vishnu Mantra 3:03
9. Shiva Mantra (Om Namah Shivaya) 3:36
10. Anahata (4th Chakra Sacred Heart F - YAM) 2:22
11. Lakshmi Mantra 3:33
12. Durga Mantra (Om Katyayanaya Vidmahe) 3:15
13. Vishuddha (5th Chakra Throat G - HAM) 2:22
14. Krishna Mantra 3:36
15. Ajna (6th Chakra Third Eye A - OM) 2:22
16. Kali Mantra 3:00
17. Sahasrara (7th Chakra Crown B - AH) 3:00

Mantras are practiced and used everyday by millions of people all over the world, to train their minds, better their lives, and to bring about positive changes, whether healthful, financial or personal. According to Chopra.com, “At the end of the day, the mantra is meant to bring you back to simplicity.”

“Working with Jay for this very special album was highly explorative, fusing the Vedic Mantras, his Indian Trap music, and many vocalizations," said S. J., "The songs have at least 30 different vocal layers, along with a unique collage of taans, aalaaps, swaras, and improvisations that blend beautifully with harmonies for Jay’s amazing tracks!"
MANTRAS by Indian Trap and S. J. Jananiy has been accepted for consideration in the 66th Annual GRAMMYⓇ Awards in the New Age, Ambient, or Chant category.