Musician Who Studied Music From Indian Gurus Says, ‘Great Art Comes From a Pure Heart’

May 2, 2020 Updated: June 10, 2020

In the course of history, music has played a very important role in the formation of various cultures in society. Every musician has a unique way of expressing what is in the depths of his inner world. Musician and sound engineer, Nemanja Rebic is one such person who expresses his distinctive style with rich texture and emotion.

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Sound engineer and musician Nemanja Rebic. (Courtesy of Nemanja Rebic)

Early Days

Rebic was born in Novi Sad, the second-largest city in Serbia, and music came naturally to him. Since his birth, music has had a special connection with him. “The night I was born, my mother heard a band playing outside on the terrace of a hotel close to the hospital,” he said by email.

He recalled that as a toddler, he would often ask his parents to play his favorite song, and he would move according to the beat. As he got a little older, he started to play guitar on a tennis racket. By the age of 12, he found a broken guitar and started strumming. Knowing of his interest in music, Rebic’s parents then bought him an inexpensive guitar from a store nearby.

Discovering His Passion for Music

By the end of 2006, Rebic’s life took a major turn. He visited India for a period of six months in order to fulfill his dream of learning one of the oldest and the most complex musical systems in the world—the Carnatic music.

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Nemanja playing the mridangam in India. (Courtesy of Nemanja Rebic)

In Bengaluru, a city in the south Indian state of Karnataka, Rebic decided to study percussion and singing in order to really understand music on a deeper level. Learning this, he thought he could apply the knowledge to the guitar.

During the time spent in India, Rebic had the honor of learning music from a well-known mridangam player—Vidwan M.Vasudeva Rao.

Rao, who has trained over 4,000 students, has received many awards for his dedicated service to Carnatic music.

Alluding to Rao, Rebic said: “He is a very sincere and humble person and I loved that quality in him. He would tell me that I have a very rhythmical brain which was a great compliment for me. I learned a lot from him in those 6 months and he gave me tons of material to bring home, things I’m still learning to this day.”

Rebic finds the music industry in India very unique and has a deep sense of appreciation for the classical music industry.

He said: “Carnatic music is rooted in spirituality and is all about showing reverence to higher beings, though it has changed a lot in the last century in terms of form and the attitude artists display when they perform. I personally feel it is up to the artist whether the righteous principles will manifest in the music.”

Rebic has a distinctive style that incorporates the unconventional style of percussive techniques with a rich texture that portrays deep emotion.

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Nemanja playing the guitar. (Courtesy of Nemanja Rebic)

He strongly believes that “great art comes from a pure heart,” and thus tries his best to bring out different feelings and stories through his various compositions.

Over the years of his career, Rebic has toured and performed across Europe, the United States of America, and India. He has also received private mentorship from some of India’s esteemed maestros, such as Carnatic vocalist G. Ravikiran, and sitarist Ustad Shahid Parvez Khan.

Inspiration 

Rebic shared that he gets inspiration from the spiritual practice of Falun Dafa, also known as Falun Gong, a cultivation practice of mind, body, and spirit. Rebic was introduced to the practice in  2007 by a lady on a bus in New York City.

“I went online to check out the link to the webpage that she sent me in her email and I liked what I saw on there. A few days later, I learned the exercises and read the whole bookZhuan Falunin one go,” Rebic said. “The book has so many fascinating facts in it and it gives answers to some major questions about the principles of the universe.”

Alluding to the benefits Rebic obtained from the practice, he said: “It has made me strive to become a better person in every way, and follow truth, compassion, and tolerance in my thoughts and actions. It strengthens my resolve and enables me to look at adversity in a positive way, as something that helps me improve my character.”

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Nemanja practicing the fifth exercise of Falun Dafa. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Falun Dafa was first introduced to China in 1992. However, in July 1999, seven years after the practice was introduced to China, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) launched a brutal persecution after seeing the number of people practicing it skyrocketed to at least 70 million. Since then, tens of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners in China have been arrested, detained, and tortured.

When Rebic first heard about the persecution that Falun Dafa faces in the hands of the Chinese regime, he simply couldn’t believe it.

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Nemanja at a candlelight vigil in Washington. (Edward Dye/The Epoch Times)

“I was saddened, shocked, and I couldn’t understand it. It didn’t make sense to me. Thus, I  started to spread awareness about the persecution through some musical pieces I wrote,” Rebic said.

In order to bring awareness to the brutality in China, Rebic has joined activities and concerts in New York City.

An artist’s work is usually tied closely to his personal values that are reflected in every note or composition—and Rebic is no different.

He said: “Who you are as an artist is what you put in your art. It is very powerful and even supernatural when it comes to the effect it can have on people. Great art stresses virtue, a sense of propriety, contentment, joy, wisdom, self-restraint, enthusiasm, sincerity, compassion, and the most of all humility.”