I clearly remember the day when my mother bought a violin for my 7 year old hyperactive younger brother to learn, because she wanted him to pick up a hobby. He was less interested in the four-stringed instrument; ‘the fiddle’ and naturally, I was the replacement for him to sit for the classical violin home tuition arranged for him. I took the classes for barely 2 years, and I am no good a violinist. But something changed after the short years of learning the nuances of the instrument; I began to enjoy and appreciate the music made by this magical instrument. I still have my violin and the half used rosin block long forgotten in my cupboard among my 500 so books and photo albums. But I have clear memories; of Friday evenings that filled my home with Carnatic notes, of the way my master tuned the strings and of how I loved to apply rosin to and fro on the long bow made of tiny white threads.
Even now, I enjoy violinists playing my favorite numbers. I keep a keen eye on new violin covers uploaded in the YouTube and other social media spaces. There is this one name that always tops my favorite musicians list; Aneesh Vidyashankar.
Aneesh Vidyashankar , ‘The Walking Wireless Violinist’ of Bangalore is an amazing artist capable of winning appreciation from youngsters and elders alike. At the age 3, he named his violin ‘happy’ and since then he has been making the audience truly happy. His mash-up violin covers are a super hit among music lovers. The recent video where he easily plays 6 music genres in kutcheri style is clearly evident of how much violin means to him and how much he love entertaining the public with new innovative styles. A journo in me couldn’t sit silent till I literally got into his nerves for this mirthful interview amid his busy schedule. Yes. He is busy entertaining the people world over, he is traveling most of his days and he still managed to give answers to the interview questions, I am glad.
Hope you guys will enjoy this excerpt of my interview with none other than; Aneesh Vidyashankar. Read on.
You must be a celebrated violinist, successful musician and a visionary in the field of music but what are you to yourself? A person who enjoys the limelight, a natural lover of music or a happy-go-lucky person!
Aneesh: “I think the answer to this question is a bit of all three. Because one has to enjoy what you really do and love what you do. There are many people who are held up with their own attitudes; but I must say, I am more of a happy-go-lucky person.”
Describe the kind of relationship you share with your violin
Aneesh: “I feel that the relationship that I have with my violin cannot be even put into words because it is an extension of who I am and I believe that it completes me”
Are you from a musical family and who stood with you in the most difficult times in your great journey?
Aneesh: “The answer to this question is a YES and a NO. Parents both are musicians. Of course my father is a violinist and I learned from him. My mom is a singer but, she doesn’t sing professionally. You know, they have other professions. My mom is an engineer and my dad is a financial expert. He is a director on one of the boards. So, music as a profession is not pursued in my family but I was influenced a lot by my parents. They have been my gurus ever since and will continue to do so as well.”
He added, “Yes, I do think my parents are the people who stood with me, during these 20 years I have been performing professionally.”
What are the challenges faced by you in the world of music?
Aneesh: “Well, no profession is without its set of challenges. Music is definitely by far is one of the roads less taken by people. Definitely, there are a lot of challenges that one faces; initially, finding the time to practice, forming a perfect balance between practice time and studies (especially, when you are at a young age), then you have to sacrifice on going out and playing with friends etc.”
“When you grow bigger, getting different shows is a challenge, and then there is competition between musicians and then politics. There is quite a bit. Once you are really big; you tend to forget these things. Definitely, I am one of those blessed ones who didn’t face many of these troubles. I think my quality stood out. I think in any field there is nothing that can beat the quality. It helped me to be where I am today”
Do you have a band? And if yes, tell us more about it.
Aneesh: “My band is known as ‘The Aneesh Vidyashankar Experience’. It consists of basically me and other freelance artists, who keep performing with me. They keep changing because I don’t want each concert to sound similar and in the same way. When we have different musicians and varied ideas; something special can come up on the stage. And the artists should have the talent to match up with my ability to perform on the stage. So, it is me Aneesh Vidyashankar and the freelance artists that forms ‘The Aneesh Vidyashankar Experience’, I don’t know whether you can call it as a band or not.”
Outside the world of music, what are your passions?
Aneesh: “I love cars and have always been a big fan of Mercedes-Benz, since I was a child. I used to watch a lot of Formula One racing, car shows and read automobile magazines; well, I do even now. I am a huge automotive enthusiast and always love learning about new bikes, cars and anything that moves. Hopefully, I will be able to own one of the best cars someday”
What is on your schedule right now?
Aneesh: “My schedule right now is that I am in the middle of a concert and I have taken a 10 to 15 minute break. In the gap, I am answering to your questions. But it is absolutely jam packed until the end of 2017.”
What’s your view on the classical music scene at present? Is there a crisis?
Aneesh: “I believe that classical music; Carnatic and Hindustani are the most deep rooted forms of music. It is my opinion. Of course, the popularity has decreased with the advent of new forms like mash-ups, jazz, Bollywood, rock and blues. But I believe at the end of the day, life is a complete circle. People will come back someday to enjoy the classical forms. Also, one shouldn’t give up on learning such forms because you will start appreciating other forms by doing so.”
What are your favorite songs and who are your most loved world musicians?
Aneesh: “I do not have a definite answer to this question. In fact, I have too many. But something that is peppy is what I love performing on the stage. At the same time it should be soothing and not jarring to the ears”
Do you believe in music Renaissance and how will you describe musical freedom?
Aneesh: “I haven’t really thought of it, you know. But music is the way to express ones owns self. And it is an extension of his or her personality, the way they portray the music. We see a lot of death metal bands, ROCK bands, individual musicians, pianists, violinists and I feel that, the way they play the music is the way they are.”
Tell us more about your projects, especially the upcoming ones
Aneesh: “I am doing a lot of mash-ups on YouTube and then a lot of live shows. We did a very unique concert recently, where I performed 3 genres together; Indian, western and fusion in the same show within a period of one hour. This performance happened at the Taneira store, Indiranagar”
Special Message :
Thank you! Aneesh Vidyashankar, for this wonderful interview.