Guitar is one of those musical instruments which have a global appeal and scores much high in terms of expressivity and emotions. Some of those emotions which cannot be expressed through a vocal performance were greatly expressed by guitar legends since the times immemorial. However, when it comes to Carnatic music, guitar was an instrument that was highly unlikely and unheard of. The main reason for it is because- Carnatic music tends to be more of gamaka based which involves the instrument to be suitable for playing sliding notes. While Veena , one of the prime Carnatic music instruments is adoringly used for this purpose, the placement of frets and the spacing made it convenient to use. However, with guitar, there is one musical master who brought it the cult Carnatic status- along with fluidly playing any other genre under the sun- and enthralling the audience since decades. His understanding of music is universal and doesn’t confine to just one genre. He keeps reinventing himself, brainstorming his ideas and keeping up the game with his unique thought and perception of the art form. This naturally led him to be the most admired Carnatic music guitar player in India along with a fantastic global musician who knows how to effortlessly fuse genres from one style to another. Despite being from a technological background, his roots remained in music and he continues to make waves with his unique performances that give electric guitar a cult status for sure. He also made the non-guitar lovers appreciate the beauty of the instrument through his mellifluously funky renditions. He is none other than Guitar Prasanna, a gifted musician with individualistic thought when it comes to making music and entertaining the audience with the same. He is one perfect example of the fact that- an artist needs to innovate himself continuously and stay at the moment! The Score has had a great privilege to speak to the fantastic musician on the eve of his performance hosted by Banyan Tree events in Hyderabad this month.
Hello Prasanna.. it is a pleasure to meet you!
Hi..thanks a lot! The pleasure is mine.
Each of your guitar performances sounds so unique and different to one another. What is the reason and motivation behind such unique feature?
It is very simple. In a performance, I focus on giving a unique and personalized musical experience. The music is happening right at that moment and so that moment is unique. Also, I challenge myself to put together a diverse set list in each of my shows and also mix up the instrumentation and the musicians a lot, so that could be another reason why no two shows of mine sound the same.
Your guitar rendition sounds like it is actually speaking to the listener. How does this happen so effortlessly?
Two things. One is that I like to bring a vocal quality to my guitar playing so it can connect with the listener. The other is that when I play, I love to converse with my audience not necessarily with words but with the music itself and that creates a special experience for everyone. Whether you sing or play an instrument, your music should ‘speak’ to the listener.
Which music genre is appealing to you currently?