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News |  01 Dec 2018 10:00 |  By RnMTeam

I look forward to making more innovative content and collaborating with established artists: Vinod Krishnan, vocalist

MUMBAI: A singer, composer and an educator, Vinod Krishnan dons multiple hats in the music field. A trained classical music vocalist by two of the stalwarts of Carnatic music, Madurai T.N. Seshagopalan and Neyveli R. Santhanagopalan, and a degree holder from the prestigious Trinity College, Vinod is currently the director of an innovative platform called IndianRaga.

Impressed by Vinod’s creativity and professionalism in the 2016 fellowship, IndianRaga invited Vinod to return to their 2017 fellowship as creative director for music.

Vinod explains the working of IndianRaga, “IndianRaga, a music education startup based in Boston, over the years now has a global presence due to its fellowship programs and innovative content. Recently, they have been active in London now for about a year. IndianRaga is organizing its first ever music and dance festival in London on 19 January 2019. As a part of this concert, I will perform many of our hit songs along with the other creative director for music at IndianRaga, Mahesh Raghvan. Mahesh and I plan to perform many of IndianRaga's iconic productions, like Shape of You Carnatic Mix, EDM thillana and others.”

He remembers his days as a fellow with IndianRaga, before he was absorbed as a creative director, “The IndianRaga fellowship was very enriching where I had the opportunity to experiment and bring to life, many ideas in music that I had in my mind for a long time. You can say it is one of the turning points for me in accelerating my work and bringing it to a global audience. Meeting other talented musicians like Mahesh definitely made it more exciting and fulfilling.”

 In the role of creative director, Vinod created, arranged and performed in several music productions with the 2017 fellows. He mentored over 30teams of musicians and singers to create novel music productions that furthered the art forms and went viral on social media and continue to do so.

Vinod is also looking forward to working more in the fusion field and has his firm opinions about it, “Fusion in music is a delicate thing. It's all about balance and aesthetics – two aspects, which are very subjective. There's no formula. I recently debuted as a composer, where I took traditional lyrics from a Hindustani bandish, tuned it in a Carnatic raag and arranged the composition in a very contemporary pop arrangement. This project titled Saajan was sung by Vijay Prakash. The entire song has just two lines of lyrics, like in a traditional bandish, and the song thrives on improvisations. We could have easily written more lyrics, but I wanted to show how improvisations can sound brilliant if used well. Vijayji's singing makes it even more appealing.”

Given his capacity at IndianRaga, he is trying his best to explore the platform for fusion music too, “Along similar lines, with IndianRaga too, I have already created newer sounds and arrangements that were very well received by listeners and media alike. For instance, I arranged a piece titled Carnatic Acapella: Nalinakanthi that brings together Carnatic music, film music, and Acapella singing. This is based on the Carnatic raag Nalinakanthi, which is a very uplifting and joyful raag, Combine that with acapella, it was a new sound that audiences hadn't heard before. I sang in another project that Mahesh arranged - an EDM version of a thillana, (thillana - fast-paced, usually concluding song in a Carnatic concert or Bharatnatyam performance). Our EDM Thillana has over 1.5M views, something that's unthinkable for projects based on Indian classical music.”

Explaining the importance of having such platforms like IndianRaga, Vinod says, “Audiences today are evolving, they hear so much variety. With so much technology around, they are also getting impatient in a way. With so many other mainstream genres taking the front seat, classical music is not very cool anymore to the young generation. Now, after many of my productions that are on YouTube, for the last 2 years, almost every week, I have random people telling me either in person, or by email or my social media profiles, that they or their kids or grandkids have seen my videos and that they love my work and now want to learn Hindustani or Carnatic music. I think that's a great place to start. Not just with the younger Indian generation, but there is still a huge population globally that still has a very narrow perception of Indian music. The richness of our classical music styles is yet to become mainstream globally. Our classical styles are so comprehensive, yet we are clubbed with so many other genres into one phrase as World Music, which is unfortunate.”

With certain plans and vision, IndianRaga is looking out for best talent and content, “At IndianRaga, the company too wants to bring on board many more talented artists - singers, composers, musicians, music producers and more importantly is looking for those artists who can create innovative content. We are constantly seeing how content is the king for any arts platform. That's their focus now. I look forward to making more innovative content and collaborating with many more established artists.”