For most people, music is another word for film songs. “Films are certainly a good platform for music but there are other avenues and streams of music. Who doesn’t like Hotel California or the music in Titanic? But independent music exists and should get its due,” says Manoj George, expert violinist who was associated with the recent Grammy award winning album Winds of Samsara.
On the evening of October 2, Manoj will try to prove his point with Mile Sur Mera Thumara, a two-hour instrumental music show at the refurbished Tagore theatre in Thiruvananthapuram which is reopening after a gap of over two years.
Interestingly, it is none other than Chief Minister Oommen Chandy himself who has facilitated this first-of-its-kind music extravaganza at the capital.
On August 25, the state government had honoured Manoj for his Grammy recognition along with stalwarts like K.S. Chitra and Sreekumaran Thampi at the Nishagandhi auditorium.
It was then that the CM had suggested the idea of a special music show on Gandhi Jayanti at Tagore theatre. Manoj had also submitted a proposal to initiate awards for independent music under different categories and it is believed that the chief minister reacted very positively to this idea.
Besides Manoj, there will be 20 eminent string instrumentalists in chamber orchestra style with first violin (six pieces), second violin (five), viola (four), cello (three) and double bass (two).
Percussion, drums, base guitar, lead and keyboards will take the number of musicians above 30. To blend Indian and western, Ravi Chari will play the Sitar, Polly Varghese will handle Mohana Veena and Holland’s Maarten Visser will play the Saxophone.
Vocal support in Hindustani and Carnatic will come from Sitara Krishnakumar and Mithun Jayaraj. “I don’t think an instrumental programme of this kind has been organised before in the capital and it will be a new experience for the music lovers there,” says Manoj Varghese of India Elements, whose company is helping to put together the show being organised by the information and public relations and tourism departments of the state government.
The mood will certainly be patriotic with Mile Sur Mera Tumara, the song that captured everyone’s attention during the late 80s, which will be played with certain improvisations.
Another piece that will fit the occasion to the T will be Mahatma from Winds of Samsara, a tribute to Gandhiji. There will be some other compositions by Manoj as well as those by masters like Mozart and Beethoven besides folk music from different countries.
Unplugged versions of film music too will be played. “We can’t ignore film music you see,” jokes Manoj, who is originally from Thrissur but has been living in Bangalore for 15 years. “A city like Bangalore has more exposure for a musician with more shows and recordings,” he says. It is that kind of exposure that he would like the budding musicians in Kerala also to enjoy. “Why don’t we have an Indian Philharmonic Orchestra?” he asks.