‘My Video Playlist’ – Anjana Rajagopalan
Anjana Rajagopalan is a 29 year old Western Classical & Carnatic Vocalist, Composer, Conductor, Arranger, Programmer, Choir and Voice trainer hailing from Chennai. She holds a Licentiate Diploma from Trinity College London (LTCL diploma) in Western Classical vocal music performance under the guidance of Mr. Augustine Paul. Currently she is training for a Fellowship Diploma from Trinity College London (FTCL diploma) in Western Classical vocal music performance under Mr. Augustine Paul.
She performed as a Soloist and a Choir trainer in the ‘Global Sai Symphony’ at prestigious venues like Historische Wuppertal Stadthalle, Wuppertal, Germany in collaboration with the Wuppertal Symphony Orchestra, Sai Kulwanth Hall and Nehru Stadium, India, Shanxi Symphony Orchestra, China and Central conservatory of music, Beijing. In Germany and China, she was lauded for her alternating Carnatic and Western vocal Solos in the Sai Symphony. In October 2018, she was invited by the Macedonian Ministry of Arts and Culture to be a soloist in a concert in collaboration with ‘Arko Chamber Orchestra’ in Skopje, Macedonia. Since July 2018 she has been training the Sabrang Choir in Liverpool in collaboration with Milapfest Organisation, Liverpool.
She made her Tamil Film Industry Playback debut with the song ‘O Variya’ for the movie ‘Iruttu’, music done by Girishh Gopalakrishnan. She has been working with artists Girishh, Vedanth Bharadwaj, Vishal Chandrasekhar, Kaber Vasuki as a Programmer/Arranger.
She works with the Transgender community of Chennai, training them in Carnatic music and helping with Fund raising. She actively voices her opinions against Sociopolitical injustices and has participated in various protests in Chennai. She is an enthusiastic musician and is always looking to learn more, to hone and nurture her musicality and skills.
1) What is the concert/recording/track you listen to the most? And why?
Steven Wilson’s ‘Drive Home’ from the album ‘The Raven That Refused to Sing’. This track is my idea of sensory delight. The story, animation, composition, Steven Wilson’s delivery, Guthrie Govan’s guitaring, other arrangement sounds and sound mix – everything has so much soul and aesthetic value. It is one of my most favourite tracks.
2) Which artists do you watch for inspiration? What do you like about those tracks / artists / concerts?
Most often inspiration happens to me on a spontaneous basis, when I experience something that tingles any of sensory perceptions. But when I voluntarily go looking for inspiration, I almost always turn to the music of A R Rahman. To me his musical genius is unparalleled in how it makes me feel when I listen to it. This is because I grew up listening to his music, and it had a great impact on how I think of and perceive music today. His music vision is one of my biggest inspirations.
3) Can you recommend a Carnatic music track that inspires you the most? Why?
I love the calm, water like gaited ‘Jambupathe’ by Sri Muthuswamy Dikshithar, and particularly this rendition of the Krithi by T M Krishna, R K Shriramkumar, Arun Prakash. The composition beautifully captures the essence of the core element represented in this Krithi – water. The lines flow seamlessly from one to another.
4) Can you share any concerts of Film composers, or an album, or a classical artists concert which you like?
Yanni Live at Acropolis is one of my most favourite live concerts for several reasons. Yanni self-funded this concert, despite being advised against doing so while running short of funds. Fearless, cutting edge, well captured live music is how I would describe the concert. It was way beyond its time in terms of conception and execution. This concert made me understand how fusion music could touch so many hearts when done aesthetically well. It also features my favourite arranger, conductor and violinist Shardad Rohani and the brilliant violinist Karen Briggs ‘the Lady in Red’
5) Tell us about another vocalist or film composer from outside the Indian genre that you like?
One of my favourite composers outside Indian genre is Majid Derakhshani. He is a pioneer of Persian music outside of Iran. I particularly like the Mahbanoo ensemble’s renditions of his Jane Ashegh, a Sufi Persian Poem.
6) Can you share a video which demonstrates a great interaction between two artists on stage, something that inspires you?
I love this jam and the interaction between the two legends Pt. Ranajit Sengupta and Marcus Miller. This spontaneous jam video beautifully showcases how they vibe off each other’s music. Another example of great fusion music.
7) Recommend a great vocal music concert or recording.
Smt. Veena Sahasrabuddhe’s rendition of Yaman is one of my most favourite live vocal music recordings. I find her Manodharma ideas, intonation and voice production awe inspiring.
8) Can you share a concert or recording from non-Indian music that inspires you?
This recording of Nasim Siabishahrivar is a spellbinding display of soul, vocal technique and uniqueness all in one package. She is an exponent in Persian Classical music.
9) Can you share some videos of your guru and contemporaries – One from your guru, and tell us about it.
This was an exceptional concert by my Guru Shri A S Murali. Particularly I find his rendition of Mohanam ragam spectacular. I adore my Guru’s style. He always plans his concert repertoire to span across different aspects of vocal technique and moods. His thematic concerts and Akandam performances always hold a special place in my heart.
10) And one from your colleagues or contemporaries in Chennai or England?
I love the intent, music and lyrics of Rap artist Arivu. His brave and direct questioning of the government, sociopolitical injustices and other relevant issues through music is something I admire. He is one of my most inspiring contemporaries. I love his album ‘Therukural’, particularly the track ‘Kallamouni’.