Sweet Sounds of Success
From childhood Cajetan Dias displayed a precocious talent for music
Cajetan Dias describes himself as a music programmer and a music arranger of Kannada film industry. He has been nominated for the best music arranger award as well as best music composer of the year 2014 for the Global Konkani music awards 2015.
His typical day involves 15 to 16 hours of music – teaching, arranging, composing and conducting. “Music is my life; it has no language, only notes”, he told Karnataka Today.
Hailing from Honnavar, the sleepy port town on western coast, Dias cut his teeth on music scene in Mangalore at the age of 15. He has always been interested in music and dance. He said he had never recognized he had what it takes to make it big in the field of music.
"I owe it to the priest of the church where I used to sing in the choir. He pushed me into the field of music," Dias said.
In 2002 he graduated from the Sandesha School of Arts in Mangaluru with a degree (BA) in Western classical music and Bharatanatyam. His family supported him fully when he chose his vocation.
From his childhood he displayed a precocious talent for music. At 18 he composed music for the Konkani devotional album Vandan Tukha Somiya and Mandd Sobhan’s, Hason Gavun Kheluiam. There was no looking back after that. He went on to provide music for several Konkani and Kannada albums, winning laurels along the way.
His Sandalwood break came when he had gone to Bangalore for a recording and chanced upon Hamsalekha, a noted music director of over 400 movies.
“My musical arrangement impressed him and he invited me to work for him as associate music director and arranger. I grabbed the opportunity. I earned his confidence with my focus on quality…In the last seven years we have completed about 40 movies together, working day and night,” Dias beamed.
So far he has worked as an associate music director, arranger and keyboard programmer for over 100 movies. It was a proud moment for him when Hamsalekha’s Mukha Putahad won Film fare award. Other notable films for which he had worked as music arranger were: Nenapiralli, Din Dhina Din, Nagabharana’s Kallaralli Hoovagi Hoonganasu, Gunavanta, Tavarina Siri, Anna Tangi, Pandavaru, Beru (music by Pravin Godkhindi),Onde Ondu Sari (music by M Rajesh)
He is a versatile music arranger who has handled various genres: Indian classical, Western classical, string sessions, church harmony’s pop music and folk. He provides music for albums, movies, TV serials and shows and festive occasions.
His discipline and work style are admirable: he always works to a deadline. Asked about the use of technology in the music industry, he said: “Technology is changing the music industry rapidly and we need to upgrade ourselves. At one time legendary composers were working when recording used to be done with live orchestra.”
To the layperson, arranging music and directing music are one and the same. But Dias explained: “Music arrangement involves arrangement of sounds of musical instruments in a song recording. Music must be arranged according to the demands of the composer. Ultimately, creativity and knowledge ofmusic are vital and the quality of melody depends on how the music is arranged.”
Why did he choose to stay as a music arranger and not aspire to become a full-fledged music director?
“Music direction depends on brand value and ambition. Fresh talent rarely gets a chance in this business. The quality of work I do is more satisfying to me than jumping the gun. I feel I am as good, if not better than most musicians in the industry and my time will come," he observed.
Teaching is his first love
Diasgreatly enjoys teaching music and has a good rapport with his students. He is one of the faculty members at L Subramaniam Music Academy and Hamsalekha Music Academy. He also devotes a lot of time to teaching music at home: students come to him from far and wide to learn music. He runs his own music studio at home.
As an achiever in his in his chosen field what is his advice to youngsters and wannabe music arrangers? “Learn the basics well and work hard to realize your full potential. While not neglecting what is in hand, be prepared to grab opportunities with both hands. Success does not depend on what we get, rather what we do of what we get. There are no short cuts to it”.