Sanjay Subrahmanyan and Sean Roldon give Vallalar’s verses a recent twist


Sashi Kumar, chairman, Asian Faculty of Journalism launching the Anbenum Peruveli web site at an occasion right here on Tuesday. Carnatic vocalist Sanjay Subrahmanyam (Left),Vignesh Sundaresan, founder and director, Onemai Basis (third from left) and music director Sean Roldan on the occasion.
| Picture Credit score: RAGU R

Aside from the occasional Thiruvarutpa songs in Carnatic concert events and devotional occasions, the poetry of nineteenth century Tamil saint Vallalar just isn’t utilized in mainstream music. Therefore getting launched to his common and secular world of peace and love in Sanjay Subrahmanyan’s voice, that too in genres which might be disengaged from the Carnatic idiom, is a novel expertise. That’s Anbenum Peruveli, a brand new music challenge that was launched within the metropolis not too long ago.

A classical heavy-weight shedding his Carnatic pores and skin and segwaying into rock, Jazz and blues to render historical Tamil textual content is definitely uncommon; however Sanjay does it with felicity in collaboration with composer Sean Roldon.

The challenge commissioned by Vignesh Sundaresan and conceived by Onemai Basis (with A.S. Panneerselvan as a transferring power behind it) has six audio tracks and accompanying music movies. The predominant sound of the album is rock, nevertheless it additionally has Celtic and Jazz/Blues influences, typifying the universality of Vallalar’s verse. And Sanjay’s voice, that fairly attractively and consciously conceals his classical may, and musical knowledge is the glue that holds them collectively.

“Rock is spirited music which is non-pretentious,” mentioned Sean Roldon when requested concerning the alternative of rock because the predominant sound of the album. “Rock’s aesthetic itself is to reveal your vulnerability, and to speak. So, it appeared proper for Vallalar’s lyrics. It provides such a distinction, an attention-grabbing dimension. Initially once we mentioned rock, all people was shocked; however after we began jamming they realised why it made sense,” he mentioned.

“I needed to sound completely different and see if it really works,” added Sanjay.  

Compositionally, each the frequent motif and the generic variety of the songs in Anbenum Peruveli are unmissable. If the tracks Ithu nalla tharunam and Arutperum jyothi keep nearer to rock, Kallarkkum seems like a requiem with clear Celtic flavour and Vennila, a basic Jazz/Blues tune. And the observe Orumayudan could also be thought of undisguisedly raga-based (Kapi) fusion. The orchestral sound created by the guitars (Vikram Vivekanand), bass (Shalini Mohan), drums (Ramkumar Kanakarajan), the frilly string and Celtic folks preparations (Kalyani Nair with abroad musicians) and different western folks devices is remarkably engaging for an Indian language. 

About how he consciously saved the Carnatic affect at bay within the songs, Sanjay mentioned Sean guided him by means of this course of. “He himself is an completed Carnatic musician and is aware of precisely tips on how to deal with it. You probably have the mindset to be versatile, it isn’t troublesome.” On the identical time, he additionally added that his classical coaching got here in helpful in sure segments. 

“I’ve stopped labelling music as Carnatic or one thing else. I used to try this earlier however now the traces are blurring for me. I simply categorical my feelings with out bothering concerning the style. The purpose is to speak with the listener. I significantly have a progressive imaginative and prescient for Tamil music,” mentioned Sean.

The accompanying music movies (Rafiq Ismail), that includes dancers akin to Nrithya Pillai, improve the attraction of the album. Should you hear intently to the tracks, you’ll perceive the thoughts of the composer, savour the delicate variations that Sanjay makes use of even when he’s singing predominantly straight notes, and benefit from the intrinsic lyricism of Tamil language. 

Requested if he felt any melodic sweet-spots within the album, Sanjay mentioned there have been loads. However, if he’s requested to single out a tune? Vennila,  he mentioned. “It was actually a brand new approach of singing that Sean launched me to and I loved it completely.”

Will we see extra of Sanjay outdoors the Carnatic concert-circuit? “Hopefully sure,” he mentioned. “I’ve put myself on the market to see what I can do and the place it should take me.”

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