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Strings of success

Violinist Ganesh talks about his upcoming concert that will feature film songs.

What’s common between the musical interludes in the songs ‘Parkathey’ ( Gentleman), ‘Ennavalae’ ( Kaadhalan), ‘Unakkul Naane’ ( Pachaikili Muthucharam) and ‘Mersalaayitten’ ( I)? They all feature the violin, and they’ve all been played by Ganesh.

The violinist, famous for his concerts with brother Kumaresh, will be playing those memorable tunes and much more in String Sings, an instrumental offering featuring film songs, at the Music Academy on Monday evening. What’s more, he will be standing the entire time — a first for a violinist, he claims — and performing the concert along with his band of musicians.

“I’ve been planning something like this for many years,” says Ganesh. “When a film song releases and does well, a lot of people call me and say, ‘I heard a violin interlude that sounds so much like how you’d play it.’ And I’d tell them it was indeed me.”

It was to present audiences the wonderful pieces he has played for various composers, and to play his other favourites, that he came up with Strings Sings. The two-hour concert, which will feature songs from various genres and decades, will also include thematic medleys that are “raga-based and feel-based.”

Ganesh might be well known in the Carnatic circuit, but he has been clued into the film music world for a long while too. He owes his entry into tinseltown to late filmmaker K. Balachander, who roped him in to play the violin in Oru Veedu Iru Vaasal and also cast him and Kumaresh in the lead. The acting stint was short — he also played the role of Krishna in a serial — but the music continued to flow. The heavy usage of the violin in A.R. Rahman’s ‘Parkathey’ ( Gentleman) catapulted him; soon after, he was playing for many composers.

“Sometimes, I do not know which film I’ve played for; some films release after a while. You lose track at such times.” One such was the memorable violin tune he played for Harris Jayaraj for the ‘Unakkul Naane’ number in Pachaikili Muthucharam. “It released long after I played it; I’d almost forgotten about it, and suddenly, everyone’s ringtone was that tune!”

Ganesh is quite happy with the way the violin has been used in popular music. “It traverses all soundscapes, doesn’t it?” he asks, “Thanks to its continuity, it can bring out any emotion, be it joy or sadness or compassion.” The violinist shuttles between Chennai and the U.S., where he is actively involved in the setting up of a music school and conducting workshops.

“I propagate the concept of Swaryoga, designed for people who love music but cannot sing. It involves them chanting swaras; a note can emote by itself even in the absence of lyrics, I feel,” says Ganesh, who will be releasing a new-age Carnatic single titled ‘Milky Way’ next week.

String Sings will be performed at 7 p.m., January 25, at The Music Academy. For tickets, call 98402 80911 or 98412 71153.

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Printable version | Mar 30, 2020 1:41:37 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/Strings-of-success/article14014050.ece

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