Popular Stand-Up Comedian Alexander Babu Explores The Nuances Of Iconic Songs In His New Project, ‘Veetu Videos’
Alexander Babu’s love affair with music began 4 many years in the past in a small village in Ramanathapuram district, the place he grew up listening to songs on All India Radio and Ceylon Radio. “Though my father didn’t understand the nuances in the songs, he would say, ‘See how Seergazhi Govindarajan’s voice stirs the soul’,” says Alexander Babu, recalling even the form of the radio petti at his home.
Every time there was a pageant within the village, classical and movie songs would hire the air. A younger Alexander would soak it in, delighted.
It’s the musical atmosphere he grew up in that the favored humorist has all the time drawn inspiration from, together with for his newest initiative, ‘Veetu Videos’, which seeks to re-introduce audiences to the classics of the 70s and 80s. The first episode of this YouTube collection had Alex deciphering Ilaiyaraaja’s 1979 track, ‘Mayile Mayile’ (Kadavul Amaitha Medai) in his distinct comedian fashion. The track was adopted by a video titled ‘Mamas, Mayile and Malargale’.
The collection blends his twin passions, music and comedy, which was evident additionally in his superhit , ‘Alex in Wonderland’ stand-up performances (now out there on Amazon Prime).
“My idea of stand-up comedy is to perform something close to my heart in a funny way; it’s something I want my children to watch. The applause I get when I am on stage is because the presentation has been polished over shows. In ‘Veetu Videos’, such audience interaction isn’t possible. Not addressing a big audience blocks a lot of punches,” he says.
But he has nonetheless managed to land a number of. Every ‘Veetu Video’ takes about three weeks of ideation, execution and taking pictures for a 30-minute presentation. “I choose a song, talk about it and the people who created it. The song’s popularity doesn’t matter; what’s important is that it should be close to my heart,” says Alex.
Exploring the main points
In the accompanying video for the Ilaiyaraja track, ‘Mayile’, he spoke in regards to the track construction, its visualisation, and the singers’ contribution (SPB and Jency); ‘Mamas…’ explored Hamsadhwani, the raga on which the track is predicated.
Alex honed his musical sensibilities when he was learning at Guindy Engineering College, the place he made buddies with numerous musicians and started jamming with them. In the method, he realised he had an extended option to go. “Back in the village, I used to win music competitions but in Chennai things were different. One of the earliest songs I heard and couldn’t replicate was M.S. Subbulakshmi’s ‘Kurai Ondrum Illai’. I couldn’t understand why.”
Another musician-friend performed a classical-based quantity from the movie Mahanadhi and Alex couldn’t sing that both. He then realised how he had missed exploring the world of classical music. “I used to play the tabla then, but still couldn’t play the interlude in ‘Poove Sempoove’. It was then that I decided to learn classical music.”
When he went to the U.S. to do his Masters, he took his tabla alongside. “When you are abroad, you start longing for your roots. In the U.S., I went to a Hindustani music concert without knowing anything about the genre. Watching a tabla player in action re-ignited the musical fire in him, and Alex enrolled in tabla exponent Swapan Chaudhari’s class. “It was a 70 km one way drive, but I really wanted to learn.”
Around the identical time he met younger Carnatic vocalist Raghavan Manian and was impressed by his rendition of ‘Athisaya Raagam’ (Apoorva Raagangal). “I thought if there is so much depth in the rhythm, there must be so much more to its melody,” recollects Alex, who subsequently educated for 5 years underneath eminent Carnatic vocalist and guru Suguna Purushothaman.
During the lockdown final 12 months, he additionally learnt Hindustani music from Monali Sanyal Balasubramaniam. It helped him put collectively an episode that focusses on Ustad Zakir Hussain.
Alex is of the opinion that everybody ought to endure some form of musical coaching, vocal or instrumental, no matter whether or not they take it up professionally or not.“When you hear a song, you immediately get transported to that emotion, as opposed to any other art form. The process of learning music will keep your brain active,” says the 45-year-old, who can be a yoga teacher.