When was the last time you heard about a veteran classical singer composing fusion music by mixing Carnatic with rock?
This interesting crossover happened when Carnatic singer Renuka Arun started doing covers of classic numbers of western music. It might come as a surprise for Renukaâs fans, who has more than 600 Carnatic concerts to her credit, that she is a hardcore fan of rock ânâ roll. She admires popular western rock and progressive rock bands and singers. Renuka made headlines recently when she covered Elvis Presleyâs Canât Help Falling in Love as a tribute on his birthday. The video has gone viral on all social media platforms, and she sang it so beautifully that even Elvis would have been proud had he been alive.
âI am a huge fan of Elvis, who was the epitome of musical showmanship. So I adore his songs.
I am not just a singer. I do covers and post them on YouTube under our banner âGolden Lyre Music Foundation,â shares Renuka. âMy very first fusion concert was in 1999 when I was a first-year B.Tech student. My first fusion CD, Crossing Borders, was produced in Germany in the same year. The CD holds my first â ever fusion composition with Swiss guitar player Sven Egluen. With the same team, I had performed a few concerts. Later, I shifted to Chennai and then abroad to pursue a career in IT. Recently, I performed along with members of the same team and Flamenco dancer Bettina Castana Sulzer.â
Golden Lyre Music Foundation was a dream of Renuka and fellow artists. âIt is a mission to enrich music listening experience through specialised âMusic for Allâ creations. In a span of a few months, the foundation has produced singles representing diversified genres. After the Elvis Presley tribute, I released a single, Maravairi, which is from my progressive Carnatic rock album named Ardhanareeswaram. An array of musicians collaborated with Maravairi including Orfeo band members from Kochi. The video which celebrates queer pride. Maravairi was released by Bombay Jayashri,â she says.
Her other releases in succession are Tribute to Swati Thirunal, Tribute to M. S. Subbulakshmi (Katrinile Varum Geetham) and two independent English songs she composed. âOne of the songs, Love Found Us, is my own poem. And Cradle of Life is jointly penned by my nine-year-old daughter Ananditha. Ardhanareeswaram is expected to be released on June 21, World Music Day. I have already recorded the cover version of Adeleâs Rumor Has It. It is the next one in the Tribute series. And the final one in the Tribute series is Reflections of Passion/Volver a Creer, a tribute to Yanni, whoâs a great inspiration to my music.â
âI am a great fan of Yanni and Barbra Streisand and also adore some classic rock songs,â Renuka says. âMy music lives in me and it is an expression of all my emotions. I donât restrict it.â
She has sung in movies too. The song Endaro from Telugu film Bhale Bhale Magadivoy won her the Gulf Andhra Music Award. In 2017, she sang a song in the Malayalam film Solo.
Renuka believes that the independent music industry is yet to get acceptance in our part of the world and looking at the way things are going, she is hopeful that things are on the right path.