Brothers in arms

The Trichur Brothers have been making waves with their niche style of music, writes Purnima Sharma
Last Updated 21 September 2019, 19:30 IST

Growing up in the culturally rich city of Trichy, it was only natural that the Trichur Brothers — Srikrishna Mohan (38) and Ramkumar Mohan (36) — take to music. Sons of the renowned mridangam vidwan, Trichur R Mohan, they started learning the intricate Carnatic genre right from the time they were very small.

While practice was something that was part of their daily routine “as important as studies, there would be moments when we’d play truant,” confesses the elder of the siblings, “and would have to be forced away from TV and cricket matches.” And then, one day, when they were in their early teens, as the two began their practice session at 4 am with their guru, it started raining outside. As the Trichy landscape outside turned magical and the whole atmosphere became surreal and dreamlike, “we experienced the bliss of music. There was no looking back after that.” The brothers — who were given the name by Jayendra Saraswathi Swamigal of Kanchi Kamakoti Mutt — are both qualified chartered accountants. They did give the corporate world a good number of years but soon got back to music full-time. Having just performed at Raja Radha Reddy’s Parampara festival in Delhi, the siblings take time out for a chat…

Music, as is evident, happened naturally to you both…

Yes, if there has been one constant in our lives, it was music. We were involved with it right from the beginning and today, we feel blessed that our passion is our profession.
But, studies and participation in extra-curricular activities at school, happened alongside.

Yes, there were moments when — as happens in most joint families — a whole lot of our cousins and friends would be playing cricket while we’d be in our music classes wishing we too were enjoying a good game. But, with time, music took precedence over everything else.

But was balancing music and studies difficult?

I think we understood the value of time management early in life. And as musicians who are also chartered accountants, we can say that art always complements education. A lot of people wonder how both of us managed to clear our CA in the very first attempt. To them we’d say that our daily practice equipped us with the much-needed focus because music is one of the greatest forms of meditation. We completed our practice just before stepping out for our exams even on the day of the finals. It helped tremendously.

You’ve been part of music programmes/sabhas across the country and the world. Any special moments you’d like to share?

Each of the concerts that we presented gave us a different kind of experience . But yes, there’s one that was particularly special — when we performed in our school in Trichur with all our teachers seated in the audience. The pride on their faces as they watched the two of us — students they once thought were ‘difficult to handle’— perform is something we shall always cherish.

You have collaborated with world music and created some beautiful fusion work. How do the purists, your ‘gurus’ and teachers, react to that?

Well, world music is a completely different ball game altogether, but it’s something we enjoy tremendously. One thing that we have come to realise is that classical music equips you with a great amount of capability — of being able to sing in any genre.

Tell us about your projects for the Clean Ganga initiative and the Indian Armed Forces. How did that happen?

Well, that’s a big story. The Namami Gange anthem turned out to be one of our biggest productions till date. But to cut a long story short, it all began when we heard PM Narendra Modi’s Madison Square Garden address and the passionate manner in which he spoke about our sacred river struck a chord.

Within no time, we got down to composing an anthem for the Clean Ganga Movement and proposed a mega music video to the National Mission for it. They responded positively and the rest as they say is history.

(Published 21 September 2019, 19:30 IST)

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