February 4, 2017, will be a date that will remain forever etched in Canada-based Geethiyaa Varman’s mind—- for that was the day the legendary musician A.R. Rahman complimented her for her prowess with the Veena. The wonder and happiness still resounds in her voice when she recounts the incident. “Rahman was present at a musical tribute held in Toronto. There were a hundred of us musicians performing on stage and I had the opportunity to play the Veena. Later, I got a chance to be introduced to the legend and he remembered my performance, complimented me and also mentioned that he would like to see more of my work.” That, she says, was a very humbling experience and one she will never forget.
Geethiyaa is a Sri Lankan Tamil, now settled in Canada. Not only is she proficient with the Veena, but she is also a good singer. It is the singer in Geethiyaa who will be making a tryst with Mollywood through the film Cochin Shaadi at Chennai 03.
Geethiyaa, who is in India to take advanced Veena lessons in Bengaluru from Jayanthi Kumaresh, got introduced to music director Sunny Vishwanath, who roped her in for a Hindi single Say Sara. Impressed with her rendition, he gave her the opportunity to sing in his next project, Cochin Shaadi at Chennai 03. The song is a Malayalam lullaby and there was no bigger challenge for the singer who does not know a word of Malayalam. “We speak Tamil at home but it was relatively easy since Tamil has a resemblance to Malayalam. I could pick up the words pretty fast though getting the pronunciations right was difficult. Singing in Malayalam was a challenge, nevertheless one that I enjoyed since I could pick up an alien language!”
She reveals her musical lineage, “My father is a sound engineer and owns a studio in Canada, while my mother is a Carnatic music teacher. My siblings are also musically inclined and I guess I could say it is all in the genes.” Geethiyaa has been learning the Veena since the age of 10. Singing is a result of her mother’s influence. Geethiyaa has been performing at shows in Canada and has also taken part in some international singing competitions where she has shared the stage with several musicians.
India has been lucky for Geethiyaa as far as her musical career is concerned. Before she ends, she hopes, “I wish I could get to sing in more films here as well as share the stage with renowned musicians. I really hope I can stay here for a while to do all that,” she adds, before staunchly saying, “I will definitely be coming back.”