'Olcott Vizha is a Groundbreaking Concept'

Award-winning violinist Mysore H N Baskar was in a band before he became a celebrated musician. Known for his emotive performance, he tells City Express that he learned music for fun from his father and not to take it up as a career

Published: 25th February 2016 05:24 AM  |   Last Updated: 25th February 2016 05:24 AM   |  A+A-

CHENNAI: He is the recipient of the Sangeet Natak Akademi’s Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar award and also one of the most sought-after violinists in the country. After accompanying leading artists for recitals and hailing from a family of musicians, he is now ready to perform at the Urur Olcott Kuppam Festival this weekend.

Mysore H N Baskar, started learning violin from his father H K Narasimha Murthy and vocal music from his mother  Rajalakshmi, at a very young age. “I don’t remember exactly when  I got the wake-up call to pursue the art. From my childhood, my parents taught me music for the sake of learning, not performing. My father was keen that I learn from his guru M S Gopalakrishnan and he sent me to Chennai after college,” he says.

Once he started his life in Chennai, Baskar says it was a spontaneous transition to full time music. “Chennai is my home now. I haven’t seen this much love of music anywhere in the world.

The perfection artists achieve here is something everyone needs to appreciate,” says the ‘A’ grade violinist.

Olcott.jpgBaskar even witnessed legendary musicians like MSG and Mandolin Srinivas preparing and practising for the concerts while staying with his family in Mysore. “All my gurus have influenced my music in their own way,” he says, crediting MSG for being his greatest inspiration. “His unremitting hard work and unbelievable perfection inspires me to work harder even today.”

Talking about the Urur Olcott Kuppam fest, he says it is something he never imagined or thought of. “Hats off to everyone involved in putting it together. It is a groundbreaking concept. We need to do more of these,” he adds.

Before his life as a sought-after violinist, he was part of a band, Antaragni which, he recalls, was the “coolest period of his career”! “A lot of creative music came forth during that time. I still enjoy  performing those old songs we composed. Every show we gave was sensational. People still hum those and go crazy over them,” he adds.

Noted for his emotive playing, he has directed numerous fusion shows with internationally acclaimed musicians. “Being the openers for Bryan Adams show in Bengaluru, performing at Glastonbury festival and many such shows have left a lasting memory,” he explains.

His vocal skills complement the notes of the string instrument. “For me, knowing vocal music helps bring out the aesthetics of songs better, along with phrases that are best suited for instruments. Sometimes I do music all day and I know I am going deeper,” he explains.

With new projects lined up for the year, he is all set to explore. “A lot of solo performances and collaboration with legends like Vishwamohan Bhatt are happening,” he adds.  Baskar will be performing a mix of old and new songs for the audience at the Urur Olcott Kuppam Festival on February 27 at 5.30pm, Ellaiamman Koil.

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