A Carnatic-folk affair

Young musician Niranjana Rema is working on a unique fashion of Carnatic and folk music

Published: 07th May 2022 06:44 AM  |   Last Updated: 07th May 2022 06:44 AM   |  A+A-

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Express News Service

KOCHI: Carnatic music has a coveted position in the hearts of classical music aficionados. Now, imagine Carnatic songs being rendered in Sanskrit and Tamil. Niranjana Rema, a musician based in Idukki and an MA music student at RLV College of Music and Fine Arts Tripunithura is exploring the possibilities of Carnatic music by blending it with folk genre.

During her research on Carnatic music, Niranjana came across folk compositions of classical music which made her curious. She conducted further research on the subject.  According to Niranjana, the folk aspect of Carnatic is not taught academically in music colleges. “Padma Shri awardee Aruna Sairam and Bombay Jayasree had rendered Carnatic folk songs.

These were inspirational to me. Varali, Punnagavarali, Nadanamakriya and Anandabhairavi ragas in Carnatic folk are used to compose Sanskrit and Tamil songs. But interestingly, the composers of these Carnatic folk songs are unknown. Moreover, while Carnatic songs may not be everyone’s cup of tea, Carnatic folk have a more common appeal,” says Niranjana who is also a playback singer. 

Infusing folk elements with Carnatic music will provide its listeners a novel experience, believes Niranjana. She is a known name in the music industry as she made her debut in playback singing through the song Chemmrantham in The Great Indian Kitchen directed by Jeo Baby. 

Niranjana says the real highlight of her career was singing a duet with veteran musician, Vidhyadharan Master for the song Pournami in the film, Freedom Fight. But Niranjana is more focused on composing her own tracks rather than playback singing. “Knowledge about Carnatic music helps one understand and create all kinds of music, including film songs. I feel for every singer, basic knowledge of Carnatic music is instrumental in understanding the tone and rhythm, regardless of the genre. I was noticed by Jeo Baby during the pandemic period when I published my music covers on social media pages. That ended up being a pivotal point of my career,” says Niranjana, who is also offering music classes, including in light music, to aspiring singers. 

The youngster is enthralled about her upcoming independent music project in association with singer Mridula Varier. “I am looking forward to the release of my music album, which is a song about Kuyili, a Dalit commander in Tamil Nadu. It is a Malayalam song and the album is a tribute to the strong woman she was. Also, I am researching the ragas that suit my emotional status or mood. The raga Desi is all about happiness that generates from its singer and the songs composed in it will soothe the mind when we are stressed out,” she adds.


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