Rishikesh is a city nestled in the Himalayan foothills of northern India, known as the “Yoga Capital of the World.” It is one of the holiest places for Hindus, visited by saints and sages since ancient times as a place to meditate in search of higher knowledge. “Rishikesh” is also the latest single from CHANCES, a Montreal trio that blends indie-pop, a touch of electro and distinctly Indian melodies. To listen to their hypnotic music is to take a pilgrimmage to the Himalayas in a high-powered spaceship.
This clever animated video, a Nintendo and ancient India mashup, is by Philippe Blain. As for the inspiration behind the song:
It’s about choice and intention. The intention to trust your instinct, and to align action with thought. The song’s driving rhythm continually pushes forward, the vocals play off each other in a sort of call and response, the synths spark up a colourful chaos. All of that is built around a loop of voices recorded on iPhone on the banks of the Ganges in the holy city of Rishikesh, India.
The Ganges River and an iPhone. A mysterious, ancient culture and our curious, technological future meet at a strange crossroads, centering around the human experience and the human voice. The repeated refrain “How you gonna decide, how you gonna choose?” suggests a crossroads and a quandry. What to do? The musical meditation — part dance track, part Hindu mantra — advises the listener to “say what you mean, mean what you do” and to move “out of the fog, into the flow.” It’s good advice.
It’s tempting to say that this band came together just last year in Montreal by chance, though their fruitful collaboration was more likely fated. Connecting old and new, Chloé Lacasse and Geneviève Toupin, singer songwriters and pianists, plus drummer Vincent Carré, have created something magical. The unique blend of cultures and influences in their music likely arises from the English, French-Canadian and Metis backgrounds of the trio. Their first two singles, “Shine” and “Leave the Light On,” were released earlier this year.
As the Hindus’ sacred elephant Ganesha disappears into the mist, CHANCES leaves us with these words of wisdom:
Trust the flow.
Don’t think about the odds.