Flute maestro Pandit Ronu Majumdar doesn't categorise music, as he has a mind without barriers. In his own words, he manages to let the music play, a la the Beatles. “I play for myself,” the musician conversant in seven languages told S. Anandan at an interaction here on Sunday. Later in the day, he performed at a flute concert at the JT Pac in Tripunithura.
In a gadget-oriented world, isn't important to listen to the song of the wind, enjoy the essence of life, the pure fragrance of life and closely listen to your heart, he asks. It is this childlike enthusiasm — the musician is upbeat about his frolicking childhood in Varanasi — and simplicity that has helped Mr. Majumdar connect with people across the globe through his engaging recitals and conduct jugalbandis with international and Indian masters. If he likens his relation with the legendary Balamuralikrishna to that of a son and father — the duo recently performed together in Palakkad — there's a different level of connect with each of his co-performers, be it Sankar Mahadevan, Louis Banks, Kavitha Krishnamurthy, Bombay Jayashri or Kadri Gopinath.
Having been on the judging panel of a few music reality shows some years ago, it pains Mr. Majumdar to witness the adverse impact success or failure has on the contesting children. “These days, parents are trying to win titles through their children. My appeal to them is not to kill their childhood. Your time is the best thing you can offer your children,” he says.
Driven by this angst, Mr. Majumdar has conceptualised an album comprising soulful and soothing music, which he says will “go deep into their subconscious mind”. This will be his major project after the resounding success of ‘Timeless Tagore', brought out during the 150 birth centenary of Tagore. A firm believer in the powers of nature, Mr. Majumdar's lilting music straddles genres and formats.
He owes it to the legendary RD Burman for launching his career “when he took me, aged 16, to a studio in 1980”. “He introduced me to a zone where you would have a vision. Guruji [Sitar maestro Pandit Ravisankar] shaped it further.”
He played the bansuri last for R.D. Burman for the film, 1942 A Love Story. Always at ease, Mr. Majumdar commendably chipped in to play his part in songs composed by musicians with as diverse a niche as Ilayaraja and Vishal Bhardwaj (remember Macchis).
Taking a break from composing music, the musician is extending his support by playing for Sidharth Kashyap, “an unsung musician with amazing talent for natural melodies”.
Mr. Majumdar roots for Kolaveri and Jai Ho with the same panache with which he would render raag darbari, khamaj — one of his all-time favourites for its ‘Varanasi effect', romance and inner iridescence or raag pilu. “Dileep [A.R. Rehman] knows how to use the accidental chords and Jai Ho is evidence for that. He's blessed. With its ‘band party' kind of stuff and the way it is written, spoken and arranged, Kolaveri attracts a lot of attention and it has standardised certain expressions,” he avers.
Mr. Majumdar's philosophy is simple: musicians should not compromise on the music format they are working in. He believes, for instance, when he gives a classical recital, he shouldn't dilute the ragas. The happy news for Kerala is that in the offing is a collaboration between the ace flutist and musician Ramesh Narayanan.
Keywords: Flute maestro Pandit Ronu Majumdar