Flautists Rakesh Chaurasia and Dr. B. Vijaygopal hope to thrill Tiruchi listeners with their jugalbandi

Lovers of classical music are in for a treat today as three new generation artistes showcase the best of Hindustani and Carnatic traditions in Tiruchi. Billed as ‘Swara – Music for Life’, the event, to be held at Hotel Ramyas, features a ‘jugalbandi’ (a duet of two solo musicians in any discipline), by flautists Rakesh Chaurasia (Hindustani) and Dr. B. Vijaygopal (Carnatic), and a Carnatic vocal concert by Sowmya Iyer.

“Jugalbandi is one the most exciting forms of music performances,” said Dr. Vijaygopal in a telephonic interview with The Hindu MetroPlus. The trained orthodontist, who has set aside his medical practice for the past year to popularise Carnatic flute music, added that for a jugalbandi to be truly successful, a lot depended on the rapport between the performers.

“It is not just a mixture of instruments or styles,” agreed Rakesh Chaurasia, nephew of the flute maestro Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia. “A jugalbandi is based on the understanding between the artistes. They should know how to compromise and even when not to play their instruments during a duet. It’s not a competition,” he added.

Both Chaurasia and Vijaygopal have had years of training behind them. Already having a famous name to live up to can be an honour and a huge responsibility, said Rakesh Chaurasia. “The expectations of people are very high, and so I have to stay on my toes, learning and practising,” he said.

Dr. Vijaygopal’s musical talent was nurtured by his family, with early tutelage from his aunt G.K. Rajeshwari and grandfather G. V. Krishnamoorthy.

“Both music and medicine are basically about treating people,” he said, commenting on his chosen fields of specialisation. “Music can reach out to your soul and heal you mentally. Medical sciences are more about treating the physical body.”

An artiste should understand not only himself, but also what the music wants out of him, said Dr. Vijaygopal.

“The flute is life for me, because no matter what mood I am in, I play my flute,” said Chaurasia.

“What began as a toy and then a hobby has now become my profession. It’s because of my music that I have been able to see a lot of the world,” he added.

Having started out early (at the age of four), both the flautists see the need to take traditional Indian music to a new generation of listeners. Chaurasia’s band Rakesh and Friends (RAF), is a fusion music project that has won many accolades.

“A lot of people expect something new from the new generation (of artistes), so RAF is my attempt in this direction. Youngsters will at least get involved in the music first before they realise that this is the same classical strain in a new format,” said Chaurasia.

“Music has the potential to elevate your senses and take you to a happy place,” said Dr. Vijaygopal. “It is our responsibility as artistes to reach out to youngsters and make them understand how it definitely changes your perspective on life.”

What can Tiruchi listeners expect to hear in today’s concerts?

“They must look out for more melodies,” said Dr. Vijaygopal.

“We’ll be bringing new compositions that are not usually part of the concert repertoire. People should come out in support of classical instrumental music more in Tamil Nadu.”

“I’m looking forward to the Tiruchi concert,” said Chaurasia. “People will see the combination of styles between Hindustani and Carnatic music. Maybe we’ll even play small solo pieces if we have the time.

‘Swara – Music for Life’ is being organised by Banyan Tree Events and is a corporate social responsibility initiative of L&T Financial Services.