The Subramaniam siblings are set to release their new single and classical album
They play their parts well. Apart from their on-stage roles of being a violinist and a vocalist, Ambi and Bindu Subramaniam, children of legendary violinist L Subramaniam, fit into their roles of younger brother and older sister perfectly. “But we are twins,” exclaims Bindu, while Ambi dismisses it with a wry smile. Raised in a traditional household, both the siblings are perfect hosts. They ensure coffee is served before the interview begins at their parents’ home.
It’s been an eventful time for the siblings since they released their band, SubraMania’s first single, Days in the Sun which went viral. This year, during summer, they toured Europe with 17 shows and three music workshops. Now, Ambi is ready with his second classical album, Just Playing, which features his ensemble with G Satya Sai, Guinness record-holding percussionist and DSR Murthy, mrudungam player from Hyderabad. “It’s a classical improvisational album with a new spin on traditional pieces,” explains Ambi, and Bindu adds, “Ambi tends to be playful. Unlike other classical musicians, he is not the traditional and serious type. He likes to experiment with his music, yet keeps it classical, hence the name, Just Playing.”
At the same time, they have been working on SubraMania’s second single release — a combination of classical and flamenco beats. “Whenever we experiment, we try to keep it as legitimate as possible. We need to know the kind of music before we get experimenting,” says Ambi and Bindu adds, “otherwise, it becomes a parody.” It’s one of the reasons they complement each other well, as Ambi is trained in Carnatic music, and Bindu is a trained Western Classical musician.
While they have been charting their own paths in the world of music, comparisons with their star parents abound. “That seemed like a big issue a decade ago, when we had just begun,” says Bindu, while Ambi adds, “People would compare me to Dad, a legend at his peak. If I performed well, everybody would say, he is the next L Subramaniam. If not, they’d label me useless,” reveals Ambi. But cut to today, and both have found their footing, “If music we make resonates with people, we are happy about it. It’s more meaningful than criticism or appreciation,” says Bindu.
Just Playing releases this October
Ambi answers: Bindu loves Mariah Carey. Every time a new album released, she would skip school to listen to the CD all day.
Bindu answers: Ambi admires Semmangudi Srinivas Iyer and Russian violinist, Maxim Vengerov.
Favourite time to compose/write:
Ambi answers: When her daughter Mahiti is at school
Bindu answers: Ambi plays from midnight till 3.30 am.
Best performance till date
Ambi answers: I think this year’s Europe tour, particularly the Spain stopover was the best for her.
Bindu answers: It was at NIT Trichy in late September. There were over 2,000 girls in the auditorium screaming for him… it was crazy.
Bindu to you is…
Ambi answers: More of a friend
Ambi to you is…
Bindu answers: It may sound
cheesy, but he is my soulmate…. We are like Pinky and the Brain. In fact, we end up typing exactly the same message on our Whatsapp
group chats without
even discussing it.
— Ayesha Tabassum