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Living a musical dream

Living a musical dream
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First Published: Sun, Apr 17 2011. 04 26 PM IST

Photo : Saanskrut Kumar/Mint
Photo : Saanskrut Kumar/Mint
Updated: Sat, Jul 02 2011. 02 08 PM IST
Name: KG Vishwanath
Occupation: Vice-president (commercial strategy and investor relations), Jet airways (India)
Father’s name: KV Gopalakrishnan
Occupation: Stenographer at Tata Power
Interested in music. This was the prerequisite put forward by K.G. Vishwanath (better known in the world of music as Sriram Gopalakrishnan) when he was looking for a bride some two years ago. He did succeed—his soulmate today, Swati Ranganathan, is a trained Hindustani singer.
Photo : Saanskrut Kumar/Mint
Music is important to Sriram and was his father K.V. Gopalakrishnan’s passion. The senior Gopalakrishnan, who died five years ago, had moved from Palakkad in Kerala to Mumbai as a stenographer with Tata Power. All his life he had one steady mission, to make sure his two sons were trained well in music, something he had missed out on as one among 13 children. Sriram was only too happy to chase his father’s dream, starting music training when he was six with the help of mother Raji Gopalakrishnan. Besides the mridangam, Sriram studied other percussion instruments such as ghatam, kanjira, tabla, dholak, bongo, djembe and tumba.
Sriram underwent his initial training under musicians K.V. Maniappan, Trichy Raghava Iyer and late Palghat R. Raghu. He kept his promise to his father of achieving a degree of musical competence by earning the title of “Taal Mani” given by Sur Singar Sansad (a music academy) and got the Maharashtra state scholarship from the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA) for advanced training in mridangam. This meant travelling almost daily from his home in Chembur to music classes in Matunga and NCPA in Colaba, considerable distances for a child.
Sriram was not bound within confines of classical music. He was once a member of the popular fusion band OM, along with his brother K.G. Ramnarayan, music directors Amit Trivedi and Amartya Rahut. The band no longer exists, but he continues to be involved with experimental music, with the fusion group Soundaryalaya and as a member of Taalvadya group Lay Taal Samvaad with Pandit Sadanand Naimpalli. He has also participated in many concerts, jugalbandis and fusion shows with leading Hindustani, Classical and Western vocalists, instrumentalists such as Zakir Hussain, Pandit Jasraj, composer Shankar Mahadevan, Guitar Prasanna, Suresh Talwalkar and Rattan Mohan Sharma.
Music might be his passion, but it never became Sriram’s full-time profession. He went conventional on that one, known by his actual name K.G. Vishwanath or Vishy, vice-president (commercial strategy and investor relations) with passenger carrier Jet Airways (India) Ltd.
“I am working on a larger plan to start a Gurukul-modelled music campus to connect aspiring music students with established musicians and also an old-age home for senior citizens in the memory of my father,” says the 35-year-old. “It will be my strategist role the day I turn 40. I want to give back to society whatever I have got from it in music.”
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First Published: Sun, Apr 17 2011. 04 26 PM IST