Vignesh Ishwar CulturallyOurs Carnatic Music Podcast Interview

Vignesh Ishwar On The Culture Of Carnatic Music

Vignesh Ishwar CulturallyOurs Carnatic Music Podcast Interview
Listen to the blog post

Today we dive into the world of music and explore the tradition of Carnatic music which is a classical music art form from the southern part of India. Historically, Carnatic music has been around for millennia with roots going all the way back to the Vedic times. It is one of the most revered art forms in India. In fact, most South Indian families in India and aboard will have at least one family member who is trained in classical Carnatic music. It is almost considered a rite of passage for being of South India descent. Furthermore, every year starting in December, the whole city of Chennai in South India becomes a music hub as people celebrate the month of Margazhi – a music festival – with several hundred concerts happening all over the city.

My guest today is Vignesh Ishwar – an IT professional tuned musician who has left his IT career to pursue music full time. Vignesh talks about his upbringing around music, the people who influenced his music and how being ingrained in it, helped him realize that the path of a musician is what he wanted to do full time. Vignesh credits his music career to his grandmother who used to take him to the same Carnatic music concerts that he now signs in. He says, “She used to take me to concerts and noticed that even though I was running around all over the place, I never asked to leave. She sensed that this was something more for me and encouraged me to learn it seriously.”Vignesh Ishwar Carnatic Music Chennai India Podcast InterviewWhat I really loved about our chat was the fact that Vignesh actually has a science background. When I asked him about these two seemingly different paths, he said, “Working as an artist and working as a scientist takes the same amount of mind space. It takes the same amount of effort, the same amount of focus. It takes the same amount of creativity and the same amount of hard work. It really is amazing how similar they are.”Isn’t this really such a beautiful way of looking at the arts?

We also talked about the actual Margazhi festival which is a huge deal in Carnatic music circles. The festival begins in early December and ends in mid-January. The month of Margazhi is considered the month of the Gods according to the South Indian calendar which is very different from the Gregorian calendar and dedicated to prayer, worship and Carnatic music. The Indian diaspora across the world, who have grown up listening and learning Carnatic music, often make the journey across oceans to be a part of that moment in time. With concerts and performances all over the city, you can almost sense the music in the air. There are even more after-concerts and music discussions that happen everywhere where people get together and just sing and appreciate the music. You cannot help but feel the music culture that is only growing bigger and bigger every year.

Vignesh is an award-winning musician who has performed all over the India and around the world. His music is regarded by many as fresh, energetic and impactful.

I cannot wait for you to meet and get to know Vignesh, the culture of Carnatic music and the tradition of Margazhi on this episode of CulturallyOurs.

{Photos by Amar Ramesh, Studio A, Chennai India}

Related Reading

Leave your comments below