BENGALURU: For HS Venugopal, his students aren’t just people he imparts musical knowledge to. They are also the drive behind his latest carnatic fusion album – VENU – which was released on May 20. So much so that the city-based flautist prefers teaching to performing. “My students would often ask me to release an album, which I haven’t done in a long while. Then I came in touch with Sandeep Chowta, who was kind enough to record my music and produce the album,” says Venugopal, who also runs the Gokulam School of Music in Padmanabhanagar.
Venugopal asserts that four among the five tracks of his album retain the purity of classical elements but one track features a blend of modern instruments like the keyboard alongside Chowta. “I have focused on the classical elements and the track with Sandeep is a simple melody with a blend of classical and modern flavours,” he says, adding that the remaining tracks revolve around ragas, devotional elements and tales from Indian mythology. “Ragas do have an effect, it’s used in music therapy as well. It’s our belief that they have a curing effect,” he says. Also accompanying him on the album are Shashank Jodidar on the second flute and Srihari Rangaswamy on mridangam.
With over 30 years of experience as a solo performer, Venugopal believes that while the digital era has made way for easy accessibility, the need for an album rooted in Hindustani and Carnatic music is still much-needed. In fact, the album has received international acclaim from American drummer Dave Weckl and American-French bass guitarist Bunny Brunel.
“The younger generation needs guidance in the classical genres. I want them to learn these powerful styles of music and blend it with other styles as well. I have toured and worked with artistes from around the globe, you get to know a lot of things. There were reservations earlier but now one should combine traditional elements with other genres as well,” says Venugopal.