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Always On Repeat – Part 11 – The Instrumental Playlist

There are multiple playlists in my phone and laptop, some even randomly named like ‘Walk Home’ (The playlist that has exactly the number of songs that will play long enough for me to walk back home from the nearest bus stop), ‘The Morning Bloom’ (The playlist that has the complete set of uplifting songs I hear on my morning walk) and other such ‘intelligently named’ playlists.

Most often, the songs are repeated, and sometimes the playlists consist of the recent hits. But the most popular playlists are those that contain songs friends have recommended to me. Making sense only to myself, and having no particular rhyme or reason, these playlists are associated with strong memories and stronger emotions. Thankfully, a wide array of genres are palatable for me so my choice isn’t really limited.

But even amidst all this, the one person who shines bright, and has, single-handedly contributed to nearly eleven different playlists (ordered by genre / language / singer / artist / mood) is my dear friend Bharathy Jayaraman. Our conversations began over books, then moved on to music and then, as they say, there was no looking back. Oftentimes, our chat windows (Thanks, WhatsApp) are filled with links to songs we heard and liked and wanted to share with each other.

Those songs have been mood lifters, definitely bringing a smile on my face, leading to long discussions and ‘OMG! You too? I thought I was the only one’ moments. But nothing reflects our common tastes better than instrumental music. Lucky I am, for having found someone who admires the same instruments I love, and manages to find pieces of music that touch my soul. So without further eloquent dilly dallying, over to my ‘Instrumental playlist’, or, as I should call it, ‘The JB special playlist – instrumentals’

Global Gear (Veena in Vienna) – Punya Srinivas

This instrumental fusion of Bach in a classical Indian instrument like the Veena is one of my most favourite pieces of music ever. In equal parts inspirational, calming and uplifting, this music also has a very personal connect. I have lost count of the times I have heard this, and this might also have featured in another list on this blog previously. So obviously this takes the first slot.

Adbuth (This is Fusion) – Ganesh and Kumaresh

I have heard of this popular music duo before, but I began hearing their works only after I received the links from Bharathy. Though I love many pieces from this talented duo, this holds a special place for many reasons, including being the first track (of Ganesh-Kumaresh duo) I had heard fully.

Love me like you do – (Ellie Goulding) Veena cover by Wageshan

It so happens that many times, I hear a popular song only after I hear some fusion or instrumental version of it. The cover versions that are shared over social media or by private messages increase my curiosity and I end up hearing the original later. But for this song, I loved the veena cover the moment I heard it, and the original song did not impress me much.

Marubari (Indo Soul) – Karthick Iyer

A very talented violinist, the music he plays and the way he manages to bring a classical twist to western music is what makes listening to him an absolute pleasure. There are many pieces in this series, two of which will feature in this list, but this one remains a top favourite though I heard it fairly recently.

Release The Burden (Indo Soul) – Karthick Iyer

When I first heard this track, I heard it as a fusion track with the popular classical number Brovabaramma interlude. Thanks to Bharathy, I then chanced upon the original without the interlude and this was, in many ways, a calming piece I loved to fall asleep to.

Strings Attached – R Kumaresh & Jayanthi Kumaresh

What happens when a veena and a violin converge? How will the music sound in that harmony? A couple very much in sync with their music, they awed me in the first run and this melody remains a favourite mainly for the way these instruments sound together and the magic in the notes.

Sreeragamo Thedunnu – Violin cover by Abhijith Nair & Sandeep Mohan

Being our common favourite song, I was initially very apprehensive of what this cover version would have done to the original Malayalam hit I love. But thankfully, the strings captured the essence of the song perfectly, and this cover version quickly went on repeat. The picturisation in the beautiful location added to its charm.

Malare (Premam) – Flute Siva

A very famous song that topped many playlists for weeks on end somehow never made it to my personal list. It still hasn’t, and neither did the movie make that much of an impact. The hype surrounding it kept me well away from it. Even now, the original song is not on my must hear list, but this flute version has somehow captured my attention and made it to the MRU playlist.

AR Rahman ROJA cover – Dream Track

Reasons why this track didn’t make it to the top five? It was not the cover of the single song I expected it to be. Reasons why this is still here? I loved the track, nevertheless. It was a surprise, it was an amazing piece I enjoyed. But more than that, the original movie remains one of the best works of the composer till date. A part of this piece is my ringtone.

Journey of Truth (Silence is Bliss) – Naveen Kumar

Flute is my second most favourite instrument, only next to the Veena and tying with the Violin for that place. And of the very few flautists I admire, Naveen Kumar, who earned fame by playing for music director A R Rahman (and is well known for his many wonderful tracks both in movies and otherwise) gets a special spot. Though there are many singles of his that I love, including the famous single, Longing, this finds a place in this post because it was suggested by the star of this post! Though Bharathy sent me the full album, this was the track that caught my attention.

This list is by no means exhaustive. I have missed obvious pieces by Yanni, Richard Clayderman, and Ludovico Eiunadi all of whom feature in my original mobile playlist. But when I began this list, the first few pieces limited it to predominantly Indian artistes and I continued in that vein, skipping through few of my beloved foreign artistes who will, hopefully feature in another playlist in the future. As for this, thank you, Bharathy.

This one is for you, my dear music twin. ❤

Cheers to more music and more gems discovered.

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