String theory

Updated: Sep 08, 2019, 08:13 IST | Gitanjali Chandrasekharan

A guitarist and a violinist met at a Navratri concert. Here's what happened

String theory
Sarosh Izedyar and Dr Narayan Raman

The conversation is over, but the most obvious question of the interview has been left out: Why is their band called Namo Fusion? In an age when Namo only means NaMo, Dr Narayan Raman and Sarosh Izedyar clarify that they have named themselves after the Sanskrit term, which means bowing down, to bring a sense of humility to the stage.

Raman, 50, and Izeydar, 48, whose band is around seven years old, will be taking the stage at an Andheri East pub this week to perform the release of their first-ever album, Namo. Izedyar, a guitarist, says, "Narayan and I have known each other for a long time. We met at a concert years ago during a Navratri event and then he [Raman] went for his studies to the US. After he returned in 2012, we connected and started working on some music together."

Raman, who has been trained under Prof TS Krishnaswamy, says, "My grandmother just dragged me and put me into a violin class. At the time, I felt the violin was meant only for women, so I'd cry every day. She used to be a good violin and harmonium player herself. That's what got me into Carnatic music. Along the line, I got exposed to rock and started listening to all kinds of music."

Izedyar says he started learning the guitar at the age of seven, having been inspired by Rishi Kapoor's character in Karz. "It had fabulous guitar songs and then I told my mom that I want to learn the instrument too. They got me a very good teacher, his name is Salvador Cardozo."

Izedyar has performed with the likes of Dr L Subramaniam and Trilok Gurtu—also featuring on two of his albums—as well as Asha Bhosle and Shaan. But, he has wanted to work on a fusion album "because it connected the two of them". "Narayan has a different experience and exposure to music and I have a different one. So, we combine the two and the whole thing gelled together."

On how the two instruments and influences—violin and guitar, and Carnatic and Western—come together, the two say that they wanted to keep things simple. "We have just tried to complement each other's instruments, without changing too many things," says Izedyar. He adds, "We pick a raag or a scale and start toying around. That gives a different structure to the music. For instance, if we pick the pentatonic scale, we work only on those notes. It's challenging, but that's how we have been doing it."

The band that has played at other events, including at Vietnam and closer home at Celebrate Bandra, decided to release an album now because they realised they already have over 10 songs in place. "When you start releasing singles, you are stuck to one emotion, but we wanted our listeners to experience a whole range of emotions. So, we released a set together," adds Raman, a scientist by degree and a consultant with an events firm. And what moved him from science to events? "Life takes you on a different path and you have to keep moving."

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