Minds Without Fear – Imogen Heap and Vishal Dadlani

Imogen Heap has long been a favorite singer-songwriter. Recently, a TV show filmed the making of this song, showing the collaboration between Heap and an Indian Bollywood musician, Vishal Dadlani (more well-known as half of the duo, Vishal-Shekhar, but, also as the lead musician of an avante-garde Indian rock/electronica band, Pentagram).

minds-without-fear-cover-300x300I enjoyed the behind-the-scenes, particularly how they went to a hole-in-the-wall music instrument shop deep in an obscure Indian town and recorded all sorts of new and different sounds to then add to the track. Sometimes, inspiration comes from unexpected places, if we only open ourselves up to different experiences. There’s also something to be said about cross-cultural collaborations such as this one, which bring about strikingly singular works of art.

The song’s lyrics are based on a pre-Independence poem by India’s most famous polymath – philosopher-poet-playwright-and-more, Rabindranath Tagore. The original poem (below) was intended to encourage the country’s freedom fighters to keep at their quest (gaining independence from the long-time British colonialists through non-violent resistance, known as “satyagraha”). This particular poem has also had quite a cultural revival recently.

Where The Mind Is Without Fear

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls
Where words come out from the depth of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit
Where the mind is led forward by thee
Into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake

– Rabindranath Tagore, Gitanjali XXXV [Source: Rabindranath Tagore, An Anthology]

Beautiful song and poem. And a lovely way to remind us of sentiments and philosophies that somehow don’t seem to fit the world we live in anymore — even as we increasingly need them to.


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