Karthick Iyer

MUSICIAN, BRINGING INDIAN MUSIC TO THE WORLD

Karthick Iyer is a musician, an accomplished violinist who is taking Indian music to global audiences.

‘IndoSoul strives to be different from regular Indian fusion music'

 

Karthick Iyer, violinist,singer and frontman of the band IndoSoul, opens up on how the band came about and much more!

 

The band started its journey at Karthick's sister's wedding reception and from there on it took flight bagging concert opportunities as a wedding band. Soon enough they became very popular in the wedding circuit. Their concerts incorporated covers of songs by popular artists such as A.R.Rahman, Ilayaraja as well as Bollywood melodies. Also they focussed on taking ancient Carnatic(South Indian classical) music compositions and creating their own interpretations of them. The band brought about these versions of Carnatic classics by adapting them into the modern day, thus making it more palatable to the younger generation of listeners.

 

Almost instantaneously, two of their songs gained popularity. A cover of A.R Rahman’s Nila Kaaigirathu and a Thyagaraja Kriti called Manavyalakim. The popularity of these songs on social media catapulted the band ahead, bringing to the table many more requests for concerts at weddings and corporate events.

 

While playing covers and adaptations had brought the band into the limelight, Karthick and his band IndoSoul began to compose music that was their own and, in 2015 , came out with their first album, ‘IndoSoul: Looking within to look beyond'. The band launched their album in the month of July in 2015 at the Museum Theatre in Chennai. The launch was a grand success attended by several eminent personalities like senior Carnatic Music singer, Bombay Jayashree, popular film director Rajiv Menon, music composer Dharan Kumar as chief guests. This fully packed event placed IndoSoul firmly on the map as an Independent music band.

 

Following this, the band began to have packed schedules, from playing at almost every muhurtham in the month to public shows like The Hindu’s premier annual music festival ‘November Fest’ and Grover Wine fest. During these busy days, the band began to work with Dondieu Divin, an extremely proficient French pianist based in Pondicherry. IndoSoul collaborated with him and brought out their second album ‘The Pallavi Shift’ which was released in March this year. The album has six Carnatic songs that were given a new look, with arrangements that root from Jazz, Pop, and R&B. And so IndoSoul, with their second album, established a new and inspired way to represent Carnatic music that set them apart from the regular Indian fusion music that we have been accustomed to for the past two decades.

 

When asked about the difference between regular Indian fusion music and IndoSoul, Karthick says " For me, IndoSoul has major differences that set it apart from regular fusion music. The fusion music that became popular in the 90’s was mostly focused on bringing together musicians who simply jammed together on stage, with a few notable exceptions While it had its own beauty, the songs lacked structure and direction. Three decades later people started to ask the question, ‘What’s next?'. I think the answer to that question is a form of music in which the blending of genres is only a means to an end and not an end in itself. The collaboration of diverse musicians that create a structured song with a definite story and direction - something that’s essentially Indian but global in nature. I believe that this is what IndoSoul is all about"." IndoSoul looks deep within the music to find commonalities between different genres of music and strives to link them in a simple way. They achieve this by the meeting of minds between the band members. They spend time to understand each other’s view and incorporate it seamlessly.

 

The band that is now, five years old has grown and evolved together in terms of their music. Their next album ‘Two Sides of Karma’ is in the works now as they get ready to tour the US and Canada for the second time. They plan to perform songs from this album during the tour and come back to India to record and release the album early next year. It’s exciting times ahead, indeed, for IndoSoul.

 

Written by Anupama Nair

 

Prelude in Bilahari

The first track of The Pallavi Shift, Prelude in Bilahari is IndoSoul's take on the Indian classical song Paridana Meechite, originally composed by Patnam Subramaniya Iyer in the 19th century. This violin and piano duet performed by Karthick Iyer and Dondieu Divin brings together the rich tradition of Indian and Western classical music with the violin melody in Raga Bilahari interwoven with Bach inspired lines on the piano.

Audio Credits:

Violin : Karthick Iyer
Piano : Dondieu Divin
Original song composed by : Shri Patnam Subramanya Iyer
Arranged by Dondieu Divin
Recorded and mixed by Biju James (VGP Studios, Chennai) 
Mastered by Madhu Viswanathan
Grand piano - Musee Musicals, Chennai.

Video Credits:

Directed by Karthik Charan
Assistant Director : Pravin Kumar Raju, Arun Prasath
DOP : Arun Bathmanaban
Associate Cinematography : Muthukumar, Pugazh
Focus Puller : Deva
Editing : Baskaran
Colorist : Sheikh
Production Design : Ayyappan Srinivasan (BTOS)
Make up and Styling : Wink Salon
Post Production : SriSix Media
DI : Master Frames
Outdoor Unit : Anand Cine Service Musee Musicals
Production House : The Indian Films

A melody that just did not work!

It's been quite a different experience for me to work as a composer for a movie when compared to making music with my band to create ‪#‎IndoSoul‬. Apart from the obvious contrast in terms of the stylization of the song, one has to work to meet the requirements of the particular mood of the scene as well as the ultimate vision of the director. Here's a scratch that I made for a sad song that was liked by the team but ultimately did not work for the particular scene. The stage in the movie necessitated a much more intense and emotionally charged number for which I ended up making a totally different song.

However the good news is that these exercises lead to melodies that might come to use for other projects and go right into my song bank, stored for possible future use! Sharing a rough clipping of the melody in question - a song that talks about love lost. It has me singing the melody without any lyrics and my good friend Dondieu Divin arranging it.

Composed by Karthick Iyer

Vocals, Violin - Karthick Iyer
Arrangement/programming - Dondieu Divin


COMING FULL CIRCLE – IndoSoul goes to Singapore

live music concert | Karthick iyer live 

Karthick Iyer Live is performing on the 25th of January at Oorja, a part of Tomorrow’s India – an entrepreneurial summit that focuses on developing international collaboration in diverse fields like business, education and culture. It is a mission that meshes well with who we are.

Preparing to perform in Singapore, it is hard not to look back at the last time I was there. Four years back, I played a solo violin rendition for the World Tamil University Youth Conference 2012 at NUS, Singapore. Today, I feel like my musical journey has come full circle in returning to the same country with a complete band and a well-received album coupled with the aim of expanding the ethos of IndoSoul at the prestigious Drama Centre.

 

In Oorja, we will be delving into the energy that flows from the seamless synthesis of diverse elements and the creation of novel and experimental sounds. It is a way of erasing boundaries, finding a common connect and expressing our own unique understanding of the essence of music. We will be doing this by collaborating with Singapore-based pianist Sam Bedi known for his soulful playing.

We're excited about playing this concert, since Sam and his team in Singapore bring a very pure and soulful sound, and we are looking forward to the synthesis of our distinctive styles. In a way, the concert reflects what Tomorrow’s India is looking to do with both the cultures - identifying ways to bring them together and build a common platform for equal and open collaboration. We look to taking the IndoSoul spirit forward by merging cultural boundaries and unmasking the underlying unifying power of music.

Discussion | The Future Of Collaborative Music | IndoSoul | EarthSync

Collaborative Music Is The Way Forward

Watch Video of a talk on "Future of Collaborative music" featuring Bombay Jayashree, Rajiv Menon, Dharan Kumar and Karthick Iyer. Sonya Mazumdar from Earthsync kindly accepted our invitation to facilitate the conversation.

In this video, Rajiv Menon contrasts the working styles of some India's biggest music composers, M.S.Vishwanathan, Ilayaraja and A.R.Rahman.


A Fan's Appreciation By Email

Note from one of our fans - Karthik Ramakrishnan

I stumbled onto your music almost three years back, when my friend suggested 'Vellai Pookkal-Vatapi' medley. A perpetual sucker for the violin, I got roped into the track fairly quickly and I raided your SoundCloud page; that is when I came across your cover of 'Nila Kaigirathu'. I have to admit that I was stumped by the track; your rendition was mesmerizing to the point of putting my mind in limbo; I am not exaggerating. I began to listen to it in the dark, in the wee hours of the day, with silence all around me, except for the notes from your violin. The track remains, till date, one of my favorites of your work.

A few months back, I listened to IndoSoul. Right of the bat, I loved 'Boundless'. The carefree creativity that sprung out from those notes was astoundingly beautiful and it hypnotized me. 'A Saranga Convergence' is a brilliant give-and-take between the band members, an escalating, intercalating ride that pulsates the musical appetite till the very end.'Rejoicing in Raghuvamsa' was beautifully rendered; like you often say, a happy song that transcends many emotions. A fantastic rendition.

I recently attended the concert of 'Karthick Iyer Live' at The Music Academy, Chennai; I have to say that the band's live performance of the album felt no different from the recorded versions; the renditions seemed so perfect, and uplifting too. Right from the beginning, with the rambunctious Boundless and to the Rahman and Raja interludes till the Saranga ConvergenceViswanathan Velai Vendum-Rum Bum Bum and Raghuvamsa, the concert was lipsmackingly good. I didn't want it to end.

What particularly caught my eye during the concert was how happy you all seemed on the stage- that radiated right through to the audience! Also, Sumesh Narayanan and Ramkumar Kanakarajan are such hyper, enthusiastic musicians- an addictive enthusiasm! 

I wanted to drop in a line- well, a rather long note- to congratulate the band on a wonderful concert and an excellent album. I have been a big fan of the way Karthick Iyer makes his violin speak and the concert underlined my awe!

Great going guys!

Cheers,

Karthik Ramakrishnan

Chennai

Speech at Music Album Launch

Karthick Iyer Speaks About IndoSoul and his Journey

Pleased to upload the proceedings from our music album launch. A big thank you to each person who was there to show his/her love and support. Special thanks to Mrs Bombay Jayashri, Mr Rajiv Menon and Mr Dharan Kumar for taking time out of their busy schedules to be there on our special day.

Nagumomo by Karthick Iyer Live

carnatic fusion music | Live concert 

This video is a 9-part video series from our Music Album launch performance at Museum theatre, Chennai, in June 2015. 

Performed by
Karthick Iyer (Violin & vocals)
Vikram Vivekanand (Guitars)
Sumesh Narayanan (Mridangam, Konnakol, Percussion)
Naveen Napier (Bass)
Ramkumar Kanakarajan (Drums)

Mixed by Bob Phukan(Aura studio)
Video by Shivaram(Shutter 24) 
Edited by Madhanagopal

Costume - Swathy(Bhaang store)
Sound - DJ bala(Soundgear)
Lights - Timmy Vanderputt(Audio Sciences) 

Boundless - IndoSoul by Karthick Iyer Live

‘Korappu’ is a compositional format in carnatic music where two musicians exchange questions and answers through their instruments. ‘Boundless’ grew out of this structure, it is a juxtaposition of Raga Shanmugapriya on the violin with heavy metal riffs on the guitar, against the backdrop of tribal rhythms. On its own, Shanmugapriya is a calm raga. But in this unlikely set up, it takes on a dark, powerful, gritty voice that rises above the individual elements. In the end, ‘Boundless’ will leave you on a high - energetic and powerful.

Madras Cover Album feat. Karthick Iyer

A MUSIC VIDEO WITH SUN TV

I landed up in Marina beach (behind Napier bridge) along with popular Sun Music director Karthik Charan to shoot for the channel's upcoming video Madras Cover Album. I played over my existing version of A.R.Rahman's Nila Kaigirathu juxtaposed between a crowd of curious onlookers one one side and the raging waves on the other. I had to look serious and pensive for the video and I quickly found that this came quite naturally to me considering that I was holding my acoustic violin just a few feet from the wave spray. With the camera person, Karthikeyan also being referred to as "Karthik", there were three namesakes in the group, leading to quite a few amusing moments of turning to answer something only to find one wasn't spoken to! I love beaches and quite enjoyed my time there. We spent about an hour there, wrapped up various shots and left back to our respective offices and homes.  

The video released today on Sun Music and I got to catch the youtube version just a couple of hours ago. I really love the way it has come out! Karthik (director) has a nice knack of conveying varied emotions with his shots of Chennai. He has also managed to make me look good on video which is laudable! Nila Kaigirathu has always been a special song and I thank him and Sun Music for having this song and myself as part of this video. The shoot gave me the opportunity to also throwback to the good times I had composing with my good friend Ramprasad Sundar some years ago, who did the music programming and arrangement for this track. He's in the Los Angeles working on many projects there and is going to tie the knot very soon. Wishing him all the best in what life has to give!

Click on the image to WATCH the VIDEO. 

Rejoicing in Raghuvamsa

ABOUT THE SONG:

As a grand finale to this album, IndoSoul, Karthick Iyer Live presents ‘Rejoicing in Raghuvamsa’, ending it where it all started. Composed by Patnam Subramania Iyer, Raghuvamsa Sudha is one of the happiest carnatic songs. This is a classic violin piece in Raga Kadhanakudhukalam, and serves as a conclusion in carnatic concerts. This high energy piece is as much fun to perform for the musicians in the band, as it is for the listeners in the audience.

 

Performed by Karthick Iyer Live
Violins/Vocals/Lyrics - Karthick Iyer
Guitars - Vikram Vivekanand
Bass guitar - Naveen Napier
Mridangam/percussion - Sumesh Narayanan
Drums - Ramkumar Kanakarajan
Percussion(At the Theatres) - Allwyn Paul

Mixed by Biju James, Bob Phukan
Mastered by Andy Bartow
Recorded at VGP studios, Aura Studios


Boxed Out by Karthick Iyer Live

LIVE CONCERT VIDEO

Performed by
Karthick Iyer (Violin & vocals)
Vikram Vivekanand (Guitars)
Sumesh Narayanan (Mridangam, Percussion)
Naveen Napier (Bass)
Ramkumar Kanakarajan (Drums)

Mixed by Bob Phukan(Aura studio)
Video by Shivaram(Shutter 24) 
Edited by Madhanagopal
Costume - Swathy (Bhang)
Sound - DJ bala (Soundgear)
Lights - Timmy Vanderputt (Audio Sciences)


Manavyala in our Mind (Studio Version) by Karthick Iyer Live

Manavyala in our Mind, one of our early Carnatic adaptations, became synonymous with our sonic character and theme. Our live version on YouTube that we had played three years ago at my sister's wedding was the first time we had ever performed it. While recording our album IndoSoul we decided to make a studio version of this song as well. There's something about this Thyagaraja krithi in raga Nalinakanthi that continues to fascinate through decades and centuries. Vibrant and positive it can never grow old! Here's our humble tribute to the great composer.

PERFORMED BY KARTHICK IYER LIVE:

Karthick Iyer (Violin)
Vikram Vivekanand (Guitars)
Sumesh Narayanan (Mridangam, Konnakol)
Naveen Napier (Bass)
Ramkumar Kanakarajan (Drums)

Recorded by Bjiu James at VGP Studios, Chennai
Mixed by Bob Phukan at Aura Studios, Chennai

VIDEO

Cinematography by David Weston
Edited by Selva