Playing all the right notes

Hyderabad’s young violinist, Gautam Raj is quite popular on social media

By Author  |  Published: 22nd Nov 2018  10:01 pm

Soulful renditions of popular songs on social media by upcoming musicians are a rage now and in many cases, this is what helped upcoming musicians into the mainstream music world.

One such musician, who got opportunities through social media, to play in films is city-based violinist Gautam Raj.

A banker by profession, Gautam started posting videos on Facebook a little over a year ago and through that, he got opportunities to play in films, including the recent hit RX 100.

Having been inspired by his father who is a vocalist, Gautam picked up violin at the age of 15 years, as he shares, “I wanted to learn music and seeing my father and a cousin of mine who is a pianist, I wanted to learn piano, but when I realised there’s only a violin school near my place, I started learning that.”

He started learning under the eminent violinist Ashok Gurujale and spent the next few years balancing studies with consistent violin practice. “I started learning carnatic music in 2005 and I spent the next five years practising for a minimum of four hours a day.

I spent so much time with my guru that there’s a lot of his style in my playing. Meanwhile, I finished my B Tech and did MBA. All throughout, there was constant jamming or practice,” explains the violinist who also performed for many short films.

This constant jamming is what got him interested in fusion, something that is seen in all of the videos made by his band Nakshatra.

“I wanted to make a lot of fusion music, replacing the vocals with my violin, backed up by guitars and percussions. I experimented with a lot of bands, but it didn’t sync.

Last year, a bunch of musicians from the city did a musical flash mob at a mall and that was when I met Akshay Beri and Aveek Barman.

Then we decided to form Nakshatra,” explains Gautam, adding, “We started jamming together and a few months later, in March this year, we won the Battle of Bands contest conducted by a radio channel.”

In addition to this, the band has also performed over 200 shows in the last one year. Gautam, whose cover of Inkem Inkem Kavale got more than a lakh views on YouTube, says he didn’t expect opportunities through Facebook.

“I love playing by the ear, as in, I just listen to the song a few times and play it without looking up the notes or anything.

I used to post violin covers of my favourite songs, recorded in my room, but thankfully, they got noticed by the right people and I even got an opportunity to play at a TEDx event,” he says.

Gautam is now waiting for the release of a couple of more films that he worked on.