Dr.Mysore Manjunath is the son and disciple of violinist Prof. Mahadevappa, Manjunath performed his first concert at the age of 8 in Mysore as a child prodigy.He is one of the Mysore brothers duo. Dr.Manjunath did his Masters of Music at the University of Mysore securing first Rank with 4 Gold Medals and was awarded Ph.D by the University of Mysore.Manjunath started performing at 8. His initial concerts were with his father and brother. From child prodigy to trail blazer, Dr.Manjunath has created an amazing record as Star performer in prestigious organizations world over. He regularly performs along with his elder brother Mysore Nagaraj. His Violin Concerts are featured at some of the major International concert stages including Royal Albert Hall, Sydney Opera House, Oxford Universityto name a few.On his recent visit in Mumbai to the Transcendence concert R2R caught up with him.
Tell us of your childhood,Musical interest and the Violin?
My father Prof Mahadevappa is my Guru and Mentor.He is the reason for whatever I am today.I was born into a family of musicians, my elder brother is also a violinist, initially I never showed interest in playing the violin and my father was worried for me as I did not have that passion for music which he had, he tried a lot to push me, but his efforts were not working at all. One day my father forcefully took me to his concert and made me sit on the stage behind him and my elder brother, as the concert concluded, all the musicians who performed had the privilege of receiving a garland which fascinated me as a child, and I also wanted one so I begged for it but my father refused as I did not perform with them, and everyone humiliated me on the stage. Eventually this frustrated me, Later on, I was promised not 1 but 5 garlands if I perform on stage. Then after returning home, I rushed to my father to get the violin lessons, a boy who never touched the violin suddenly became so much obsessed with the instrument and within 1 and a half year, I learned the violin, performed live and received the garlands which felt like an award. My father had a very strict persona, he never let me play outside or pass time with friends and I disliked him a lot due to this but as a musician, I got recognition at a very young age and that is when I realized the importance of music and since then I started worshipping my father.
What was the chief reason to become a professional violinist?
Later it was my father again, who had been my source of inspiration all the time. With music 24 hours at home, with regular concerts, practicing sessions, and a wonderful Musically charged atmosphere at home with so many musician friends of my father always visiting our home and singing /playing, naturally the music sanskar rooted much deep inside me.
What is it to be a professional Violinist?
One must be greatly fortunate to become a musician. Having music sanskar, finding a good guru, having family support, and progressing in a right direction - all these contribute immensely for the success of any professional musician. Fortunately, I am blessed to experience only great things as a professional violinist. Violin being a western instrument and so wonderfully adopted in to Indian classical Music, has an unique place. Violin, being one of the most beautiful and popular Instruments in the world of music, offers so much for any musician to explore!
Is Carnatic music is for a niche audience or do you see it spreading itself?
Happily, we are witnessing more and more youth finding carnatic Music interesting and listening to it. It is quite evident that a good number of young musicians performing with great success also.
Is there a North-South divide in terms of Carnatic-Hindustani music
Naturally, carnatic music is more widely popular in the south. Instrumental music has wider reach in terms of attracting more listeners beyond geographical boundaries. With wider exposure possibility in the modern scenario, division should not be much distinct and wide. Jugalbandhi concerts are one easy way of bridging these two systems.
What do you think about Fusion music?
Fusion is an interesting concept in all disciplines. It immensely helps for a newer concepts and creations. Music fusion has always entertained music lovers across the globe. It provides a great scope for two totally different music genres to come together to create one beautiful melody. Fusion need not be noisy at all. Highly eminent musicians can bring all the subtle beauties of different music styles togethre on a single platform.
How was it performing with Mr. Louis Banks & team on Jazz music?
It was wonderful performing with Lous Banks, a veteran Jazz musician of high caliber. He is such an amazing player. Loved sharing musical ideas with him. We had a great team. Each one being immensely meritorious, we all knew it was going to be a great music concert ! Felt happy that packed audience loved the concert immensely.
Tell us of your tribute segment to T.Chowdiahji?
T.Chowdiah, being a legendary violinist of the last century, It was a great idea by Gigue to have a tribute concert for him. Mumbai did not hear much about T.Chowdiah and a great occasion to pay tribute to him. I chose Rag Purvi Kalyani and Kapi for my segment as they are very distinct in terms of the structure and also Thalas. Enjoyed elaborating Ragas which are the primary improvisational parts in Carnatic music
How was your musical interaction with Pt. Yogesh Samsiji, Amritji & GIno and the finale.
It was too good. They are superb musicians and all of them rose up to the occasion. They all are extremely sensible musicians with great rhythmic approach towards any composition and any speed. Loved performing with them.
Are the structures of Carnatic & Jazz Music similar in any way?
No. They both have totally different structures and approaches to music. How ever, experience musicians can blend and gel them beautifully.
Those of you who have been around from the 1960's through the 1990's will remember the vibrant live music scene in almost every starred hotel in India. Those were the days when you walked into a nightclub like 'Rendezvous' at The Taj Mahal hotel and 'Supper Club' at the Oberoi Sheraton in Mumbai to see curtains going up on a band that was the prime focus of these outlets. Every seat in these restaurants allowed an unobstructed view of the band that performed every night on resident contracts. Today all this has disappeared thanks to some ridiculously high entertainment taxes on live music. Today, non off these hotels have complete bands playing save for a few that feature small duos or solo singers. The Lodhi in New Delhi, recently listed among the world's best hotels, decided to step in and rewind to the good old days. They got Goa's premier jazz quartet 'Jazz Junction' to move to Delhi on a resident contract and the decision has paid off in terms of footfalls generated by the band. Jazz Junction featuring singer Daniella Rodrigues, pianist Tony Dias,
bassist Colin D'Cruz and drummer Angelo Colasco began playing at The Lodhi in June 2018. Four months into the contract the band generated a sizeable following, with quite a few high profile guests choosing to celebrate their special occasion at the Elan bar where the band performs. Against all odds the rewind option proved to be a huge success and hopefully other properties around the country takes the cue to trigger a whole new revival of live music.