Local priest releases Indian-American sacred music CD
“I will sing unto the Lord throughout my life; I will chant to my God as long as I live.” (Psalm 104:33)
Psalms such as this one, combined with his own musical family heritage and his strong Catholic faith, inspired Father Velangini Thumma to create a new sacred music CD containing a unique fusion of classical Indian and American music.
Father Thumma, a priest from the Diocese of Guntur in India, where he was ordained in 2005, officially introduced his new music with a “launch concert” July 26 at St. John Baptist De La Salle Church in Granada Hills, where he has served as an assisting priest for more than two years. Some 300 parishioners, community members, fellow clergy and other supporters were on hand for the gathering, which Father Thumma described as “an amazing experience.”
Father Thumma performed all the selections from the CD at the concert, singing the hymns as he played the keyboard. Proceeds from CD sales will help fund a feature-length documentary film about street children in India that Father Thumma is currently producing and directing. Titled “Wounded Healer,” the documentary is expected to be ready for screening by April 2015.
The Catholic music CD — titled “Divine Melody” — is Father Thumma’s first in English; he previously recorded two CDs in his native language, Telugu. The new CD contains 10 hymns (five inspired by Psalms 23, 25, 139, 121 and 42), three Catholic prayers composed as hymns (the Our Father, Hail Mary and Confiteor), and one hymn each in Spanish and Tagalog, which are his original compositions.
“Music is the universal language of God,” he told The Tidings, adding that he hopes the songs on “Divine Melody” will “speak to you, change you and, in turn, help you to speak to God.”
“It is in these moments of intimate connection to God that we find ourselves and attain fulfillment in life,” he said. “The hymns and the music in this CD are very soothing and melodious, and that would surely connect us to God.”
Father Thumma represents the fourth generation of a family of ecclesiastical musicians. His great-grandfather, grandfather and father all played the organ in church for his home parish. In addition to his musical pursuits and parish work at St. John Baptist De La Salle, Father Thumma is pursuing an MFA in film/television production at Loyola Marymount University.
“Divine Melody” may be purchased by contacting Father Thumma, (818) 923-4922 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit ebay.com, iTunes, Amazon.com, or major Christian gift shops. To download the CD, visit www.divinemelody.in.