British violinist Vanessa May said, “Violin playing is a physical art with great traditions behind it.” Today being World Violin Day, MetroPlus catches up with popular violinists who speak about their muse

Louis Ouseppachan

Indian film composer who mainly sets scores for Malayalam films. He is a recipient of National Award, Filmfare Award and Kerala State Film Awards for his numerous film soundtrack albums and background scores.

What’s to love about the violin: Despite the glamour of the piano, guitar and drums in today’s time and age, there’s no denying that the violin is the only instrument that produces a sound that emits a personal feel. I would say the music it makes is better than the human voice. We speak using the tongue, we play the violin using our fingers. While the mouth has its limitations of the throat, the violin doesn’t. The violin is like another body that helps express yourself most clearly. The fact that it can translate any emotion you feel is what makes me attached to it personally over the past almost 50 years that I’ve been playing the instrument. When you’re a violist, it’s understood that your instrument is really your first wife and my wife has actually made her peace with it (guffaws), also because I serenade her with the music I make! While I started off learning Western Classical music, I slowly ventured into Carnatic and Hindustani.

Inspiration: Any sound produced by a violin has always allured me. In the late 60s, it was Yehudi Menuhin who caught my fancy. I would practice 16-hour a day. Much later, a senior violinist in Chennai, V.S. Narasimhan, Hindustani maestro M.S. Gopalakrishnan and Carnatic violinist Lalgudi Jayaraman have always inspired me as a musician.

Manoj George

Violinist and Music Composer- Performs with his own band “ManojGeorge4Strings”and also with Lucky Ali. He is a renowned recording artist in the film industry.

What’s to love about the violin: The number of students learning violin is on the rise compared to earlier days. This shows the love for ‘the king of all instruments’ amongst the new generation today. The violin is the closest musical instrument to the human voice and maybe this melodic nature of the violin still wins the hearts of people today. Of course, the mesmerising sound of the violin has always attracted me to pick up this instrument.

Inspirations and Favourite Solo: The violin maestros L. Shankar and L. Subramaniam have inspired me to explore Indian contemporary styles. Listening to Stephen Graphelli and Jean Luc Ponty attracted me towards jazz violin, and Itzak Perlman and Yehudi Menuhin made me learn Western Classical. The piece I always love to listen and play is the 25th Symphony of Mozart.

Karoline Solomon

Teaches and plays at Face2Face Foundation

What’s to love about the violin: I’ve played the piano and the guitar before I took up the violin. I’m completely self-taught and since I have learnt other instruments, I can vouch that it is only through the violin that one can ‘feel music’. The instrument can do so much more than any other instrument can in being expressive and bringing out emotions. Also, watching people play the violin really touched me and I couldn’t resist learning it myself.

Youngsters today take up the violin as many bands require violinists. The violin adds flavour to the softer side of music and in some cases can provide for great distortion too.

Inspiration and favourite Solo: Musicians such as Bach, Vanessa Mae and Lucia Micarelli have truly inspired me. The violin solo that has touched me would be ‘Emmanuel’ by Chris Botti and Vanessa Micarelli.