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The music of peace

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Posted: Sunday, August 19, 2007 10:00 pm

"Music is the universal language of the world."

That's the motto used by a Morada-based production company using music to bring together varying cultures with a history of conflict.

Some extreme groups who live in rural villages of India and Pakistan have trouble getting along, and they sometimes bring the conflict with them when they move to the United States, said Rajan Patel, one of three leaders of the production company called Five South Records.

Five South Records, led by Patel and two Stockton residents who were born overseas, wants to bring all cultures together through music. And that includes people born in the U.S. along with Hispanics, Pakistanis and east Indians. The idea is to bring together Christians, Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus and other faiths in a unifying force.

"There are two things they have in common - they believe in God, and they all listen to music," Patel said.

With that combination in mind, Five South Records organized what Patel described as a successful concert called "A World Peace Musical Evening" on Aug. 4 in Stockton. Musicians included people from India, Pakistan, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Fiji and the U.S.

There were similar concerts during the summer in Fremont and Reno, Nev. Patel said he hopes to organize a multicultural concert for the fall in Lodi.

The group leaders, Patel, SirPunj and Mike Nathaniel, play in the band together under SirPunj's name since he is the lead singer. They also play backup to other singers signed to Five South Records, named for the directions Patel frequently gave people on how to get to Morada or Stockton from Sacramento - as in "Take Interstate 5 south."

The method Patel, SirPunj and Nathaniel (who uses the stage name Overtone) use to bring cultures together is to start with some Hindi or Urdu lyrics and mix in some English, Patel said.

Rajan Patel, who will turn 23 on Aug. 30, was raised a Hindu. He grew up in Morada, is a 2002 Tokay High graduate and has about a year left at California State University, Sacramento, where he is a business marketing major. He plays drums and keyboards. He also builds koi ponds, waterfalls and other water features for a company called Aquascape.
SirPunj, 29, was born and raised in Pakistan and moved to the United States in 1996. He is half Punjabi and half Pakistani. SirPunj, his stage name, is the lead singer. He recently moved from Sacramento to Stockton.
Mike Nathaniel, who uses the stage name Overtone, is a guitarist who grew up in Fiji. He is a Franklin High School graduate and lives in Stockton.
Source: News-Sentinel staff

Five South Records is trying to modernize some Hindi hymns with the help of Vijay Benedict, a Christian gospel artist from India. Everything from rock and roll, hip hop and rhythm and blues are combined into a single song.

"Our goal one day is to throw a 'world concert,'" Patel added.

Both of Patel's parents are Hindu, but the family celebrates Christmas and customs from other cultures. He went to Christian churches with his friends growing up.

"I was pulled into Hinduism through music," Patel said. "I fell in love with the culture. They don't tell you to 'do something.' It's more of a culture that embraces your own lifestyle."

SirPunj was born and raised a Muslim.

"I'm probably the least religious person," he said. "I'd rather have fun. I'm pretty much wherever the music takes me."

Nathaniel was raised by Christian parents, but isn't too religious now. People from a variety of Christian and Asian cultures live in Fiji, but they get along fine, Nathaniel said. But when he moved to Stockton in 1978, he noticed that people from these same cultures segregated themselves from each other.

Five South Records works hand-in-hand with another company called Chatney Management, which manages artists, helps book and promote them and collaborates with Five South Records to put on concerts.

For more information on the group, visit http://www.fivesouthrecords.com.

Contact reporter Ross Farrow at rossf@lodinews.com.

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  • posted at 5:01 am on Fri, Aug 24, 2007.


    To the comment below, I do not think this group is trying to create one master religion. Is it the same God, absoltley not, is it the same music, of course not. That is waht is so unique about them. I am close to this group so I know. THey are trying to create music that appeals to everyone. Go to a Justin TImberlake concert and Christians, Muslims, Hindus, and everyone else are singing next to each other. Attitudes like the one below are what force religoious seperation.

  • posted at 2:47 am on Thu, Aug 23, 2007.


    The religions that are mentioned in the article do believe in a god but not the same god. Religions will never be unified because of conflicting beliefs.

  • posted at 11:28 am on Tue, Aug 21, 2007.


    Rajan and guys, keep up the good work, keep following your dreams and you just might fulfill the dreams of others along the way.
    Dan and Michele

  • posted at 8:13 am on Tue, Aug 21, 2007.


    Excellent Rajan!!!! The world needs a few hundred more like you guys and all would be better. Keep up the good work!

  • posted at 3:28 pm on Mon, Aug 20, 2007.


    mike cant wait for the lodi multicultural concert this fall. dont forget your filipino artists as well.

  • posted at 11:25 am on Mon, Aug 20, 2007.


    Imagine guys like this putting on a concert in Rashid's night club. I would go for sure. Keep on jammin, guys.

  • posted at 10:38 am on Mon, Aug 20, 2007.


    That's awesome guys...Keep up the good work, lets end all of this ridiculous political and ethnic feuding between our people. Keep doing work!

  • posted at 9:24 am on Mon, Aug 20, 2007.


    The boys have the potential to revolutionize the entire sound of modern cultural music. I have had the opportunity to listen to many of their collaborations. This music possesses all the necessary elements to bridge the cultural divisions that plague modern society. Stay hard in yard....put some paint where it aint...and most importantly ROCK ON BROTHERS!!!

  • posted at 7:40 am on Mon, Aug 20, 2007.


    Hey SurPunj - looks good - keep up the nice work, Richard from SAC

  • posted at 3:02 am on Mon, Aug 20, 2007.


    Rock on Boys Lodi could certainly use a whole bunch of what you are offering.



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