Showcasing his roots

Debarati Palit Singh
Friday, 20 July 2018

Percussionist V Selvaganesh, who is performing with his father, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri, Vidwan Vikku Vinayakram and Pandit Sanjeev Abhyankar in the city today, says that anyone can listen to classical music, because music is music

Three maestros are coming together to perform live for music lovers in the city. Grammy-award winner percussionist, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri Vidwan Vikku Vinayakram ji along with his son V Selvaganesh and Pandit Sanjeev Abhyankar are sure to give an memorable performance today at Bhimsen Joshi Kalamandir, Aundh. The concert titled ‘Sound of Roots’, has been organised by We the Artists India. 

Abhyankar is opening the show, and his performance will be followed by a duet performance by Vinayakram ji and Selvaganesh. The concert will culminate with the three musicians performing together. 

Selvaganesh, a renowned percussionist not just in India but internationally too, says he is going to perform with his father and his brothers. “It’s going to be a family thing. Usually, my son also joins us, but presently he is in America. We are the first family to have three generations performing together on stage so we are called ‘3G’,” he says, in midst of doing sound check for a show in Mumbai on Friday. 

It’s not just the excitement of performing with his family but also performing in Pune. “Pune is  my favourite place because I have been performing here since 1985. My first concert was with Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma, then I have performed with Zakir Bhai (Hussain). Pune’s got a great audience and nice vibe. It’s got a mixed crowd with older and younger people. If the show is good, they love it.” 

Selvagenesh, who is one of the leading kanjira players of his generation, has been performing with his father for many decades now.  “There’s no moment of nervousness because I grew up on stage with him. He is always throwing something at us (my brothers and I) so we look forward to what he is throwing next and what we can catch. I have learnt a lot from him from every concert of ours. Having said that, with every musician, it’s always a learning process and the same happens with my dad. He never gets the time to sit and teach us, so what we learn from him is on the stage. I am so glad that I am born in this family.” 

Yet the percussionist admits that it’s actually more challenging performing with your family, specially his father. “Even if it’s your family and you play in the same genre, the duty of Indian music is improvisation. What comes on to you is never planned so it becomes a challenge. As I said earlier, I don’t know what he is going to throw, but I have to be ready to catch it.” 

In the last few years, Indian classical music has witnessed the participation of several young musicians, which is a positive trend. Also, young audience is attending these shows. Selvaganesh says, “People always say that to listen to classical music, you need to be knowledgeable. But it’s not true. Anyone can listen to classical music because music is music. I am happy that many young people are taking up classical music as a profession. Till a few years ago, it was very tough to do so. But not anymore. Youngsters are not only taking it up professionally, but are also doing well. The Indian classical music has climbed new heights.” 

He adds that musicians from his father’s generation were of the opinion that youngsters would not follow classical music and keep the tradition alive. “They thought classical music would die but that’s not the case,” says the artist. One way to keep connected to music and showing one’s gratitude, is to be true to music. “We believe that we choose music, but it’s music that selects us. You have to be blessed to be a musician,” he says before signing off. 

Catch the ‘Sound of Roots’ concert at Bhimsen Joshi Kalamandir, Aundh on July 21 at 6 pm onwards. For tickets, check

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