Music

Music video ‘Tranquillity’ fuses the Hindustani and the Carnatic through two Swathi Thirunal kritis

Vishnumohan S and NJ Nandini in a still from the music video

Vishnumohan S and NJ Nandini in a still from the music video   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The composition is rendered by Thiruvananthapuram-based vocalists Vishnumohan S and NJ Nandini

With a symphonic blend of the Hindustani and the Carnatic elements, fusion composition ‘Tranquillity’ attempts to show the “oneness” of Indian music through the concept of ardhanareeswara, which assumes equal importance for the male and the female entities.

The composition fuses two Swathi Thirunal kritis — ‘Ghaffil bhailo’ in Hindustani, and ‘Parama purusha jagadheeswara’ in Carnatic, rendered by Thiruvananthapuram-based vocalists Vishnumohan S and NJ Nandini respectively — set against a dance choreography depicting the Siva-Parvathy composite.

“Just as the idea of ardhanareeswara, I believe that Indian music cannot exist in its totality without both the dominant traditions of music complementing each other. One cannot outperform the other. It’s like an ocean wave where the crest and the trough co-exist,” says Vishnumohan, who composed the Hindustani portion. The Carnatic segments were blended by Abhilash Venkitachalam, noted for his performances in music reality shows.

‘Parama purusha jagadheeswara’ is in Vasantha raga, while ‘Ghafila bhailo’ is in Adi basant. Vishnumohan says he has also added elements of prati madhyama raga in ‘Tranquillity’, adding that the choice for the two Swathi kritis was “purely coincidence.” About the title, the singer-composer says he means to convey “a state of mind where there’s an absence of disturbance.”

Describing Vasantha raga as “haunting”, Nandini says it encapsulates a spectrum of emotions. “I received a demo track from Vishnu and Abhilash. They gave me the freedom to rephrase some of my portions; to render them in my own style. It’s hard to define musically the changes we brought in, but structurally, it’s unaltered,” she says.

As a fusion work, the vocalist says her challenge was to show the versatility and depth of Carnatic music in just a few minutes. “Often, in such fusion pieces, we may have a tendency to be influenced by the co-singer and I have tried my best to be different,” says Nandini, adding that programming by C Thankaraj and percussion by Hari Krishnamoorthy made the composition “richer.”

Vishnumohan, a student of vocalist and composer Ramesh Narayan, says the idea for such a production was in his mind for close to a decade now. “I’m a beginner as a composer but the unconditional support I received from a classical vocalist like Nandini made my work easy,” he says. The dance and choreography for the video is by Vineetha Chandran S, while Hari Mohan M cranked the camera.

Tranquillity’ was released on YouTube on October 11.

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Printable version | Apr 7, 2020 6:35:15 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/music/music-video-tranquillity-fuses-the-hindustani-and-the-carnatic-through-two-swathi-thirunal-kritis/article29700037.ece

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