Creative Music in COVID times


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The Chennai based popular Mridangam artiste Akshay Anantapadmanabhan is creating waves with his latest piece of Mridangam Mix on Maroon 5 top hit “Girls Like You”.

Akshay is part of the team with prodigies like Ambi Subramanian, Bindu Subramanian (children of eminent violinist L. Subramaniam) and Mahesh. Their creative “The Thayir Sadam project’ has won global accolades.

Under the Thayir Sadam project, Akshay was involved in ‘Konnakol Playhouse’ which was performed with over 1000 kids in India was a great talk of the town.

Covid 19 has not anyway affected creativity of artists like Akshay Anantapadmanabhan who continue to motivate younger generation of musicians.

Akshay Ananda Padmanabhan who continue to motivate younger generation of musicians
Akshay Anantapadmanabhan who continue to motivate younger generation of musicians

The Indian Telegraph caught up with Akshay recently.

The Indian Telegraph: What was the trigger point prompting to create this wonderful mix?

Akshay: My goal as an artist has always been to showcase the mridangam and spread Indian rhythms on world stages be it through traditional Carnatic settings or through collaborative and experimental settings.

With this goal, I recently released a mridangam mix of one of Maroon 5’s top pop hits: ‘Girls Like You’ in an exploration of how the mridangam and Indian rhythms can sound outside of its traditional Carnatic space: 

The video was directed by my wife and Bharatanatyam dancer Sudharma Vaithiyanathan with the idea of also emulating the videography idea of the original song in one-take (excluding the intro and exit effect).

TIT: How is the Covid 19 affecting or having impact on creative artistes like you?

Akshay: This is a huge constraint for artists because the entertainment space was the first to go and will certainly be the last to come back. Especially since social gatherings will probably still be low-key even after the vaccine comes into play, so artists like us who perform live concerts and tour for the most part of the year have to brace for no shows and live performances for what looks like the next year!

Further outside of artists like us who can at least attempt to make a transition through digital transformations, there are other groups who are really struggling right now.

TIT: What are your current or next line of projects in creative music?

Akshay:  I plan to release 1) more pop music video mixes along with Indian rhythms (next video one coming soon!) 2) traditional kutcheris clips (live and new) 3) original compositions exploring cross-cultural collaborations as well as 4) parts of introductory/tutorial discussion videos with insights into Indian rhythm on my official YouTube channel ( Interested individuals can subscribe there to get the latest updates.

Currently, the need for artists to go digital is becoming a necessity, so I have embarked on YouTube with this goal. Unfortunately, cover music videos like my recent release are not monetizable so I have also just launched on Patreon which is a space for fans and supporters to support artists to keep creating art: Here, I not only offer exclusive behind the scenes of my music videos, early access to my music videos, allows supporters to become a part of my videos through the credits but am also creating a ‘Learn Konnakol’ tier for those interested in learning this vocal percussive art to get insights into Indian rhythms and learn at their own pace!  

For those who have seen my collaborations with Indian Raga, The Thayir Sadam Project and Carnatic 2.0: here are some of my other explorations with the possibilities of Carnatic rhythm: 

Konnakol Playhouse – A piece featuring 1000+ kids

Mylapore Rap – A twist on the possibilities of Konnakol 

Samaja Vara Gamana – A Contemporary twist of St. Tyagaraja’s timeless krithi

Sri Shankari – a Bharatanatyam & Mridangam duet on the concept of duality

Dawn of Taka Dimi – Taking a traditional thaniyavarthanam and changing the arrangement into a percussive original 

Also visit The Indian Telegraph congratulates Akshay Anand Padmanabhan on the contribution to creative music in this turbulent COVID time.

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