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Talking of the Music of the World


Aug 11, 2021 03:45 pm    Views: 6301

Talking of the Music of the World

On today’s T&C we meet Anthony Muthurajah, an exceptional character who seems to lead a very vibrant lifestyle as a musician, and has travelled across the world, played with international bands and artistes, and have contributed with his musical talent in many ways.

Having met with diverse music cultures, audiences and individuals showed him that that music was a universal language and had no barriers. To this day he cherishes the memorable experiences he had in performing diverse cultures and ethnicities, thus was more than happy to share his thoughts with us regarding his music career.

A proud Jaffna boy in his Sri Lankan roots, Anthony’s family moved to Baharain in the 80’s where he was born, and it all started for him at the local church where he began his first steps of his music career as a drummer. He jokes at being a little’’ culturally confused ‘’ having studied in an Indian school there and picking up a few Indian languages along the way.

Excerpts:

Q: Tell us about your Sri Lankan roots and how you were raised in Bahrain.

I am originally from Jaffna. My folks moved out to Bahrain in the early 80s and that was home for me and my siblings for the longest time. The Sri Lankan community was tiny, so we studied in an Indian School, thus picking up a few Indian languages along the way. Needless to say, I am a little culturally confused haha. But, I will always recognize myself as a Sri Lankan.

Q: You seem to have led quite a vibrant music career, being born in Bahrain, now living in Dubai, and then moving to several countries to pursue music.

The beautiful thing about music is just how universal it is as a means of communication (much like food). The experience has been great so far and I am looking forward to branching out further west to grow my reach and share my work with more people beyond just Asia.

Q: What inspired you to become a musician in the first place?

It all began at church for me. I remember watching the drummer when I was about 3 years old and I completely lost my mind. Got home and started banging away on pots and pans. That’s where the love for music began. My main inspiration as a young kid has to be my late Pastor Bonnie from the church we attended in Bahrain. Him and his wife really encouraged me to pursue music as a career too. So, they’re two people that inspired me the most at a very young age.

It’s quite different, particularly when it involves original music. Some countries appreciate and welcome originality, while some prefer to listen to what they are used to and are comfortable with (covers basically). However, I must say this. Audiences connect with sincerity more than anything else. That is a consistent experience of mine so far in every country I’ve performed in.

Q: Have you performed in Sri Lanka as well?

Funny enough, no! I look forward to doing so in the near future, if all goes well down the road.

Q: Though you are specializing in Bass, most of your music has jazz elements.

 

Music is a sonically driven landscape, which is dictated by sound more than the actual instrument used. I grew up with a lot of gospel and heavy metal funny enough. Down the road, jazz intrigued me a lot because of the elements of improvisation and spontaneity. I still incorporate a lot of other components in my original music. Some subtle, some rather obvious and this is as of today. This could very well change in the future.

Q: What was it like, being able to perform with internationally recognized bands and artistes?

It is always a humbling experience to be reached out to, to do high profile shows with big artists. I’ve always wanted to be someone who was versatile enough to be able to deliver in any situation and I’ve been trusted enough over the years to be given the chance to do so. Just like with anything else, I’ve grown a lot with each experience and I look forward to doing this a lot more in the future.

Q: What was your most memorable moment of them all?

The most memorable show has to be the one I did with The Brand New Heavies at the Irish Village in Dubai. I had to step in directly to sound check in the afternoon and have a quick run through of 13 songs. We didn’t have time to rehearse at all and I had to do the show on the fly. It was an adrenaline I never felt before. And the best part was that, I didn’t feel nervous at all, thanks to the lovely musicians in the group. They made me feel at home and that gave me a lot of confidence to just be me and go for it.

Q: You’re also a music instructor, focusing on the educational side of music.

Music education has been a strong passion of mine for many years now. I’ve built a decent YouTube channel over the last four years, where I post free lessons predominantly and this has also served as a great network, through which I get called for shows and to teach masterclasses. I’ve also written and published my own method books over the last few years and am continuously working on new material/courses. The thing I enjoy the most about teaching is that, it makes me feel like a student every single time. Learning is a never ending process and that in itself is a great lesson in humility. We can never learn enough. Period.

Q: Tell us about your two albums, ‘’Road Not Taken ‘’ and ‘’Perennial’’.

Road Not Taken was primarily inspired by my brother’s life story and my favorite poem in school, The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost. The compositions and layout of the tracks say a very specific story related to a journey in life, particularly the ups and downs. I wish I did it a little better of course haha. No real musician is ever satisfied with what they put out.

Perennial was an emotionally heavy album to put together. In December of 2019, I lost my mentor in music and life, Mr Frank Ong to cancer and in 2020 through the course of the pandemic, I lost a good friend, my pastor and his wife. It was a very hard time for me emotionally, as they were people that were directly responsible for me being the musician/human being I am today and will continue to strive to be. The album is a tribute to them and to everyone we’ve lost over the course of time. They may be gone, but their memories will live forever. Hence, Perennial.

Q: Anything new coming up in the future?

I am just about done with a new track of mine, which will be released in September as a standalone single. Really excited about that! I am producing and recording for guitar extraordinaire, Juan Dhas from Colombia at the moment. Also, I’m in the midst of planning a relocation to the west (the location will be revealed in due time!). It’s time to look for new challenges and change the environment. So, yes. That’s about it.

I would like to thank my brother, Jonathan Muthurajah. He has been the strongest support system through the course of my career and he has inspired me to be a better person all the time. That directly translates into the work I do, which is the music I make. So, a big shout out to my big bro and real life hero!

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