Niranjan Pandian: Mesmerising Hearts with his music

Firstly, I am an ardent fan of Niranjan, not just as a musician but also as a human being. This young man is destined for great things. Perhaps, I am partial to his choice of instrument. But I can definitely say this, you will definitely have an awesome time listening to Niranjan and his band.  I am extremely proud that we are able to feature him during our concert . Remember to buy your tickets !!!

Introduction of yourself and what you do
I am Niranjan Pandian, a Singapore bred flautist. I am currently pursuing my Bachelors of Accountancy in Singapore Institute of Management. On top of that, I have been learning the Indian Traditional Flute under the tutelage of Sri Ghanavenothan Retnam at Bhaskar Arts Academy. I have been involved in the Music since the age of 10 as my Musical journey started at Singapore Indian Orchestra and Choir. Moreover, I have been featured in many other orchestras and bands namely NUS Indian Ensemble, SIFAS Alumni Orchestra, Nurul Huda Ensemble, Sangae Muzhangu Musicians 2015, Akashic Collections, Groove Factory, Anthem of Hearts, Usla Asli (Thailand) and C-Asean Consonant (ASEAN). Besides performing, I have also founded the Association of young Musicians (SYAMA) and Brahmastra aiming to organize local festivals while bringing young musicians from different walks of life together. I have led Brahmastra for a number of productions namely Enna Nadakathu Season 4 and 5, Nacchnu Oru Pattu (Starhub), Singapore Indian Chamber of Commerce Heriatge Night and Dr Chandroo’s Book Launch.

Tell us about  your artistic journey 
My Artistic Journey started at the age of 10 as my father brought me to Sri Ghanavenothan Retnam. Under his tutelage, I entered numerous competitions and won the third at National Indian Music Competition (2004) and 1st in the Papanasam Music Competition (2013). My guru motivated me to join the Symphonic band in St. Gabriel’s Secondary school and that was where I picked up Western Classical Music. I learned to incorporate both genres namely the Indian classical music and the western classical. Later on, I joined the Singapore Indian Orchestra and Choir (People’s Association) at the Age of 10. I was promoted to a principle flautist and was choosen to play at Esplanade for annual concerts.  Besides, I was also given the opportunity to Represent Singapore in many local and international festivals namely Solok Music Festival (Indonesia) and Ananya Samarpana (India). Later on, I was featured in many other orchestras and bands as an Indian Classical Flautist. Such collaborations have allowed me to travel to countries such as Thailand, Indonesia, India and Malaysia. Currently, I have been given the opportunity to organize local festivals such as Dhwani 2015 through Association of Young Musicians. We have also organized community events such as Kovan CC Deepavali Show and Aljunied CC’s Pongal Show. 
How has your involvement with the arts changed your life?
My involvement with the arts has given me an identity in my society. Besides, teaching me life skills such as discipline it has given me the confidence and a purpose. In fact, I found my purpose of my life through music. I realized how I can actually give back to my society through Traditional Indian Music as we touch people’s life.

What is the best moment in your artistic journey?
The best moment in my artistic journey would include a solo recital at an Old Folks Home in Taiwan. As I was presenting a short recital, I observed one particular old lady starting to tear. As I ended my recital abruptly just to approach her to comfort her, the translator came over to assess the situation. I was told that the old lady was touched with my music and started to reminisce her past. I was taken aback and realized the impact of music in our lives. This was the best moment in my artistic journey.
Tell us about your role in the performance on 23 july and how have you been preparing for it?
On 23rd July, Brahmastra will be presenting Realm of Ragas. We aim to show how Traditional Indian Music and Cinematic genres are interlinked through ragas. I will be playing the Indian Carnatic Flute and the Bansuri. We have researched on the Ragas and blended in with other genres such as Jazz. We have also experimented with the Tala aspect through rhythmic solos covering different styles of drumming.
 What were some of the challenges or hurdles you faced in your journey?
Some challenges would include the fact that I lacked motivation. I did not have many who supported my dreams. People had told me to give up when I was small or rather told me that I would not be able to succeed just by playing the flute. Sometimes, one has to draw motivation from within. I constantly told myself that this journey will last till I cease. Furthermore, my guru’s blessings and guidance with the support from my parents was always there to guide me through this journey. I am thankful from the bottom of my heart for their unwavering support.
What is your dream project?
My dream project is to orchestrate a team of Musicians and Singers in a world tour. We will do originals and focus on Jazz-Carnatic/Hindustani based themes. The Music team will consist of Musicians and Singers from around the world. I want to play at all the wonders of the world and as well as at the Himalayas.  

Why do you think its important for every child to learn any traditional art form?
Traditional Art forms preserve our culture and heritage. By practicing it, we are preserving it. One may ask the validity and the relevance of such art forms in this era? I believe it is very fundamental to the development of the human civilization. It links us to our origins and gives us an identity in this globalized society. Besides, giving one an identity, the child learns other values such as discipline respect and creativity through manodharma. These lessons are invaluable and Traditional Art forms can impart one with those skills.
Do you have a particular artiste in your field that you look up to and why?
I was always a fan of Pundit Hariprasad Chaurasia, a legendary world renowned flautist. When I was at the age of 5, I used to listen to his records on a repeat mode. It was also his music that I will listen to first in the morning and the last at night. His musical capabilities are majestic as he brings different dimensions of a raga on the flute. Really inspiring.
If not for art, what do you think you would be doing?
I always had a penchant for management based activities. If not for the Indian Traditional Music, I see myself working as a Curator or an Event Organizer. I love to work and manage people. I would love to organize music festivals locally and internationally. Besides, I would choose musicians to present world music based concepts such as concepts explored by Yanni. 

Come watch Charmaine during the Sarvesh Festival of Arts on 23 July 2016. Get your tickets at  Sistic Now. Limited Seats available.

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