Music

Listen to Vasu Dixit and The Thayir Sadam Project virtually

The musicians are taking requests on social media and singing social distancing blues away

The four musicians in The Thayir Sadam Project — siblings Ambi and Bindu Subramanaim on violin and vocals, Mahesh Raghavan on iPad, and Akhshay on konakkol and mridanga, are busy attending to requests on Instagram. The group, which blends Indian classical, electronic and world music, wanted to ensure people do not miss out on music because of the lockdown.

Ambi said The Thayir Sadam Project took off two years ago spontaneously, just like the notion of connecting to listeners via social media last week. “We strive to make music available and this was the perfect way to reach people sequestered at home.

“When we asked people for their The Thayir Sadam Project favourites, the response was overwhelming,” says Ambi. “We got nearly 500 requests, some for the group and many for individual renditions. The range of requests was also mind-boggling. Some wanted a Carnatic kriti, others an English pop song, one asked for Todi raga to be elaborated, and one asked for a Korean song.”

“There was a request for the Beatles song, ‘Hey Jude’,” says Bindu. “I recorded the song at home. We posted a short clipping on Instagram Stories, people can listen to the full version on our website or YouTube.”

The Thayir Sadam Project is busy attending to song requests over 24 hours. “This is a nice way to engage people and keep musical conversations going,” says Mahesh. “We need to have a healthy mindset in trying times.”

Describing the mechanics of posting music, Ambi says, “Bindu and I are at home, Mahesh and Akshay are in their houses. Each of us work on our individual layers. We do the audio mixing and balancing later. We are also learning as the requests are varied from a Hindi film song to ‘Let it Go’ from Frozen. We promise the best of melodies even as we create a sound that is completely ours.”

Vasu Dixit online

A post on March 29 from composer and musician Vasu Dixit said Going live on Instahandle @thatextrastep from 7 pm. On March 30, at 10 am, Vasu kicked off his Quarantine Session on his YouTube channel with his song ‘Neelamegha.’ “This is the best we can do,” says Vasu. “We are so used to going out and presenting songs live. Some of my numbers are based on the ondu haadu ondu jaaga concept (one song for one venue) as the lyrics suit the particular space. I also collaborate with other musicians. However with social distancing, releasing songs and performing on digital platforms seems the best bet. It is a good way to stay in touch.”

The musician says the isolation will help him reflect on his music and lyrics. Hari, who runs an NGO called Take that Extra Step asked Vasu to perform for half an hour on March 29 on Instagram. “Apoorva Gnaan, sent me lyrics, which I used for ‘Neelamegha’. The lyrics, which talk of Yashoda’s worry for Krishna as he is on the battlefield, echo these troubling times. The song follows the mother and son’s exchanges every evening after the battle.”

Vasu is used to offering preludes of his songs on Instagram. Now, however, people place requests to hear his solo numbers and songs from Swarathma. “Even if there are no live concerts, we can treat this as practice sessions. That is why when someone asks for ‘Raagi Tandeera' or ‘Taaraka Bindige,’ I immediately record and post it.”

Remembering an interesting request, Vasu says, “A listener said, ‘We have elders in the family who want to listen to your ‘Amma’ and ‘Mullu Koneya Mele’. Could you please present it on your acoustic guitar?’ What more can one ask for?” says Vasu who promises a variety of compositions which are not only devotional, but also have a social and spiritual context.

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Printable version | Jun 2, 2020 2:16:56 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/music/how-musicians-are-taking-requests-on-social-media-and-singing-social-distancing-blues-away/article31205334.ece

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