CHENNAI: Wouldn’t it be refreshing to take a break from hip-hop or rock playlists, and try on some Indian pop for your everyday fitness regimen? Here’s a tailor-made album that brings the best of traditional and contemporary music. Now, you can warm up with Hamsadhwani and cool down with Kamaas. Run with SA, a 36-minute playlist curated and composed by vainika Jayanthi Kumaresh and violin maestro Kumaresh, is a delight to the ears. This project, if anything, is an extension of the many creative collaborations the duo is celebrated for in the music circle.
The album is specially designed for your everyday workouts, runs, walks and the like, and is intended to help you use music for fitness. The word SA in the album denotes the first and basic tonic note that serves as an anchor in Indian music. SA symbolically indicates the tuning of the mind, body and soul to one single note, and also stands for Strings Attached. Explaining how the album came into being, Kumaresh notes, “The idea popped up during one of our morning walks. Our listeners have often complained of redundant playlists and wanted something motivating with an Indian twist. They suggested we compose one for a workout. Why not compose one with ragas and talas, we thought.”
Promising to be a mood booster, the energising album incorporates all the elements in a typical workout regimen. Jayanthi elaborates, “The songs, without distracting the listener, will be a companion from start to finish. Get in Tune, based on Hamsadhwani, helps you warm up. Swing with Strings, based on Suddha Dhanyasi, is groovy and helps steady your pace. Follow the Notes, inspired by Nattakurinji, is peppy and helps maintain the pace. Run with SA, based on Keeravani and Simhendramadhyamam, is upbeat and invigorating. Kool with Kamaas, the last one, is designed to cool your body down.”
Besides its purpose, the album could simply be a ‘pick me up’ on a dull day or a comforting companion to unwind with on a long drive. The tracks have been infused with a universal flavour and has a global appeal, incorporating elements from various genres. “In YouTube, the album comes under Indian pop or world music. We’ve used Brazilian beats, Cuban drums and soundscapes across the globe. While it’s based on classical music, it has let us explore many dimensions of the genre. You will hear keyboard, trumpet, water drums and more such interesting elements. We believe that this will help youngsters connect to the roots as well as extend classical music as part of everyday life,” enthuses the husband-wife duo.
Keeping up with their expectations, the response from rasikas has been encouraging. “We’ve observed a good listenership among the age group of 25-35 and 55-65. People want us to come up with — Dance with Sa, Breathe with Sa, and more. They are enjoying albums tailor-made for specific activities. On a personal level, it’s been an enriching experience for us too in terms of sharing creative inputs. We wanted to bring the best of both our instruments — the loud notes of violin and playful frill of veena — in this collaborative project and we’ve achieved that,” says Jayanthi. The duo hopes to come up with more albums in this series. ‘Run with SA’ is available on all major audio streaming platforms.
BEHIND THE SCENES OF A WORKOUT PLAYLIST
To ensure the album is truly one-of-a-kind, the husband-wife duo monitored the listening pattern and choice of playlist of their rasikas for a few weeks. Even the smallest of detailing such as the BPM (beats per minute) was taken into account, to structure the compositions in a way they synchronised with the body movements. It’s this that makes the album versatile for all kinds of regimens.