Notes, keys, strings and song

Composer Yeldho John. Photo: H. Vibhu  

Yeldho John P. composed his first song when he was barely 16. The memory of the love song still brings a smile to his face. “The song is still very close to my heart,” he says. “You know, at that age, you see the world through rose-tinted glasses. The song reflects all that a teenager’s heart felt.”

The young musician has just finished work on a Tamil film Villukkuri by director Chandrachoodan, which is set to start shooting this month. The singers include Vijay Yesudas, Mridula Warrier, Ashwathy Girish, Alaap Raju and Yeldho himself. “It was a mix of styles. I have tried to recreate a flavour of the 90s film music,” he says. Yeldho describes himself as a “melody person”. “Have you ever wondered why older songs tend to remain in memory and the newer ones don’t? Melody is the soul of a song. Over-dependence on technology cannot make a song immortal,” he says.

Though Yeldho started out early, the journey to films was riddled with hurdles. “Discouragement came from many quarters. My mother supported me and believed in my talent. And my father, too, to a certain extent. But he was not sure if one could make a career out of music.”

He started learning the keyboard at the age of four in Malappuram where his family was settled. Later, after they shifted to Paravur in Ernakulam, he joined the National Academy of Music, where he was introduced to the wonders of the piano and the guitar. “Unnikrishnan sir, who runs the academy, motivated me a great deal.” From then on, there was no looking back. Music became a constant companion. He did his Bachelor of Arts in Music from Sree Sankaracharya Institute of Sanskrit, Kalady. He also joined the Kalabhavan where he spent two years experimenting with a range of instruments including the mridangam, the tabla and the violin. He honed his skills in the keyboard (taking his second grade exams) and the piano as well.

At Cochin Arts and Communications, he concentrated on the violin and learnt a bit of Hindustani vocals. Yeldho believes in learning everything while he can. “It is all about hard work. You put all your energies into something, and you are bound to imbibe something valuable from the pursuit.” However, the keyboard is his first love. “My first keyboard was a PSR 540 Yamaha,” he recalls.

At 18, Yeldho was already earning, singing on boats. Perseverance finally paid off and he got offers from commercial establishments for doing their jingles. Since he had a grasp over most instruments, orchestration came naturally to Yeldho. One of his most noted works is the title track he composed for ‘Dewdrops’, a popular show on Kairali We channel. Another one was for one of the shows on Red FM.

However, a formal, steady income was a concern and he left for Muscat where he joined the Strings Music Institute, an Indian music school, as head of the violin, piano, guitar and keyboard sections. The experience helped him widen his prospects, Yeldho says, as he met Sudanese artiste Abu Zaid Alimam, a double diploma professor of violin, who later became his mentor. Yeldho is currently preparing for his 8th grade in violin.

The job offered financial security, but when he felt that satisfaction still eluded him, he continued his individual pursuits in composing music. Along with some musician friends with whom he closely collaborates in Muscat, he brought out an album, ‘Pooncholakkili’, a love song, which will be released soon. Yeldho has done one song for the upcoming Malayalam film Shabdarekha directed by Bejoy Kalamassery.

But his big break is going to be Villukkuri, he feels. “I have received another offer from Tamil. But it is too soon to talk about it,” he signs off.

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Printable version | Jun 21, 2021 6:43:04 PM |

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