Abby V, Who Shot To Fame With His ‘73 Ragas’ Video, Talks About Various Influences And How He Discovered A Love For Indian Classical Music
A smiling younger man opens the door to an attractive house and sings 10-12 second snippets of 73 Indian classical ragas in fast succession, effortlessly and instantaneously when prompted, whereas casually strolling round the home. The digital camera follows him, capturing with none cuts, for your complete 14 minutes. Abby V’s 73 Ragas video obtained thousands and thousands of views on-line after it was posted in January final 12 months.
We might need heard of Abby V then, however he has been singing, composing and recording music for years now. He has received a number of prizes on the Cleveland Thyagaraja Aradhana and from Mumbai’s Shanmukhananda Sabha in a number of classes, together with Best Senior Vocalist. He sings pop, R&B, Hip-Hop, Hindi and Tamil movie songs, ghazals and qawwali with equal ease. In 2019, he launched a solo album, First of All, that includes eight authentic songs in English, Hindi and Tamil. “I am all things pop and intrigued by everything consumed by the masses. I continue to follow these genres and am a fan of Chris Brown, Usher, Justin Timberlake.” Abby is a big admirer of A.R. Rahman. “Successful combining of Indian classical aspects with Western concepts like chords and polyphonic arrangements results in magicians like him,” he says.
Born in India, Abby Venkatachalam grew up in Toronto, Canada, the place he continues to stay. “I was like any other diaspora kid, except that I spent a significant time singing after school,” he says. His father, Venky Venkatachalam, sang Indian movie songs as a interest and carried out in diaspora capabilities. “He exposed me to the music of Laxmikant Pyarelal, R.D. Burman, Ilaiyaraja, M.S. Viswanathan, etc.” Abby would sing pop and R&B and do karaoke together with his father on Indian movie jingles. He additionally sang with him on stage, his first official efficiency being on his seventh birthday. “When a child that age sings, people are loving and accepting. That made me view the stage in a very positive manner.”
His formal coaching in Indian classical music started at age 12 with native Carnatic and Hindustani lessons which, he confesses, he discovered boring and hardly assimilated. It was film songs based mostly on classical music that later sparked his curiosity within the classical style. The fluency within the quick taans (akaaram) in ‘Kuhu kuhu’ (from the Hindi film Suvarna Sundari) and ‘Pattum Naane’ (from the Tamil film Thiruvilaiyadal) actually spoke to him, leaving him fascinated.
At across the identical time, he witnessed a televised live performance of Carnatic vocalists Ranjani and Gayatri on Jaya TV and “was mesmerised.” He reheard each bit of their live performance, starting with the abhang (“the concluding pieces are easier for the masses to appreciate”), attempting to understand what was taking place musically. He requested the sisters to take him on as a pupil they usually agreed. These have been augmented with lessons from vocalist Raji Gopalakrishnan, who visited Toronto each summer season. “She made me really comfortable with manodharma. Unlike some others who might say ‘you are not ready yet’ or ‘learn something else first’, Raji Gopalakrishnan let me try and encouraged my attempts.”
Abby realised he had an inherent consolation with the idea of ragas — Hindustani and Carnatic. His father had examined him from a younger age. “He would sing the strain of a raga and ask me what song I knew in it and the reverse too.” Venkatachalam would additionally level out intricacies — the addition of the antara gandharam within the concluding stanza of ‘Mere naina sawan badhon’ (from Mehbooba), for instance, which made Sivaranjani into Misra Sivaranjani.
Abby, who additionally has a level in Music Performance and Technology from Metalworks Institute, has educated in Western classical vocals together with piano and guitar classes in childhood. He synergises the varied strategies throughout genres when he sings and composes. Western voice pedagogy, for instance, imparts a variety of coaching in breath management and the supply of the sound (the chest, nasal and head voices) and easy methods to bridge them. He finds this handy when he sings Indian music too. For quick kalpanaswarams, that are all consonant sounds, lip drills, an train that stimulates blood circulation to the mouth space, improves enunciation and readability. When he composes pop or R&B items, he typically brings in numerous nadais, and even some alien notes, taking inspiration from bhashanga ragas.
‘73 Ragas’ was the primary video the place Abby confirmed himself on-line. He took his time venturing into the digital area, he says. He has since been releasing movies recurrently — movie, classical and extra, together with collaborations with many different artistes. Before the pandemic set in, Abby had efficiency bookings, together with in India. “I am looking forward to visiting as soon as I can and interacting with the wonderful people who have reached out to me,” he says.
The writer writes on
classical music and musicians.