Less than a week ago, singer Vijaynarain Rangarajan found himself serenading travellers on a metro coupe in Chennai — playing new songs he has either written or composed. “People need a little bit of art thrown at them. The hassle of a nine (am) to six (pm) job can become a bit much,” he says. When he began singing, a crowd gathered, capturing him on their phones. A passenger complimented the lyrics of his single ‘Korangu’, he recalls.

However, when videos of this performance began gaining traction on social media, Vijaynarain was asked to take it down. Although the Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) did not have any explicit instructions against busking, the concept was unfamiliar in the city’s serpentine tunnels.

Traces of this event have been wiped off social media’s fickle memory. It has, however, allowed for more chatter about this Tamil singer and his series of intriguing, whimsical and mostly merry compositions — many of which he will be playing on April 6 at Barracuda Brew. The singer of the popular song ‘Ei Suzhali’ from Dhanush-starrer Kodi, will be performing unreleased independent songs alongside a mix of his film numbers at the event. Saturday’s show includes Naveen Napier on the bass, Vikram Vivekanand on guitar, Akshay Yashodharan on guitar, Siddharth Kumar on keys and Lawrence Ramesh on drums.

A live show feels like a way to put a name to the face of this musician who has been part of the Tamil music scene for 15 years now, singing for composers such as AR Rahman, Santosh Narayan and Ilaiyaraaja.

When one thinks of Vijaynarain, it is impossible not to remember his performances from the Tamil reality TV show Super Singer from 2009 including a surprising rendition of ‘Summer of ‘69’.

“Despite ‘Ei Suzhali’ and ‘Maya Visai’ (from Irudhi Suttru) being popular, people do not tend to associate my name with the songs. It is the bane of being far removed from here geographically,” says the singer.

Eight years of living in Australia however, has allowed the singer to experiment. His compositions about love, heartbreak and the everyday mundanity of existence have formed a solid base of songs that he will be releasing independently through the year. Some of these songs, like his ‘Kaikku Ettinadhu’, have been in his head for 12 years now, he says.

Vijaynarain says that the treatment of much of his music is acoustic — shoved somewhere between the Tamil Country and Blues space. The singer is clear that he is not composing music with an Instagram audience in mind. He does not want to generate 30-second hooks and drops unless the song warrants it. Mostly though, he wants to ensure that his listeners are happy. “I want to put a smile on their face and ensure that they are in a good zone,” he says.

Vijaynarain says that he will be singing, writing and creating a lot of new music and collaborating with artistes he has enjoyed a friendship with in the past including Santhosh Narayan and lyricist ‘Super’ Subbu.

He is also planning a show with CMRL as they are keen to collaborate with performers and have access to small venues at their station.

Looks like breaking a rule or two has its occasional perks.

Vijaynarain Live curated by Quriosity will be at Barracuda Brew, Nungambakkam. Tickets are priced at ₹799 and are available on insider.in.


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