Author Archives: Ganesh Viswanathan

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About Ganesh Viswanathan

Ganesh Viswanathan is a musician, a designer and sometimes both at the same time. Caffeine is known to derive its energising properties from him. Nobody knows the exact moment when he dismantles an idle mobile phone or steals food from another plate.

March 19, 2014

A conversation with Soulmate

By - on 19/03/2014 at 6:22 pm


Arguably India’s most loved Blues band, Shillong-based Soulmate are into their 11th year of dazzling crowds, national and international with their brand of heartfelt, no-nonsense, no-pretense blues. They are also the only band to feature in all of the editions of the world-renowned Mahindra Blues Festival. Ahead of performing in the 2014 edition of the festival where they launched their third album ‘Ten Stories Up’, Soulmate’s Rudy Wallang and Tipriti Kharbangar (Tips), quite like their music, did not hold back in a candid conversation with What’sThe Scene’s Ganesh Viswanathan, on playing the Blues, completing a phenomenal ten years and on playing with living legend Carlos Santana. WTS: Studio or live? Tips: LIVE, FOR SURE! WHAT…


If Day 1 was anything to go by, the acts on Day 2 had their work cut out. However, Soulmate, Li’l Ed and The Blues Imperials and multiple Grammy-award winning blues legend Jimmie Vaughan have been silencing doubters for a living and were well equipped to make sure that the festival ended on a really high note. On day 2, even before the first act, music was already in the air as faculty from the True School of Music, Mumbai performed some pleasant acoustic jazz on an outdoor stage set up at the venue. Near the performance was where Soulmate’s third album ‘Ten Stories Up’ was to go on sale for the first time (read…

March 13, 2014

Plenty of Hues at Day 1 of The Mahindra Blues

By - on 13/03/2014 at 10:03 pm


Skeptics became admirers, admirers became lovers and lovers became fanatics. All that in only a couple of days at the 2014 edition of the annual Mahindra Blues Festival at the fabled Mehboob Studios in Mumbai. After raising the bar for music festivals held in India, three times with three highly successful Blues festivals starting 2011, the Mahindra group had set its sight on doing just that for its 4th edition. The build-up was immense, accentuated heavily by the line-up for this year – Grammy awardees Tedeschi Trucks Band and Jimmie Vaughan, Blues stalwarts Zac Harmon and Li’l Ed and the Blues Imperials and India’s crème de la crème Soulmate and BlackStratBlues. Even the heavens had opened…


Not very often do you get to see a packed Chowdaiah Memorial Hall on a Wednesday evening. But that’s mostly because not very often do you get to see a classical concert that brings together the Saraswati Veena with the Tabla. Especially when you start to name the artistes for the evening, behind the instruments. The last time Ustad Zakir Hussain recalls playing a similar concert was with the legendary veena maestro Vidwan S. Balachander, all the way back in 1974. Forty years on, on the 29th of January, 2014, the Ustad took the stage with a disciple of Vidwan Balachander, veena stalwart, Vidushi Dr. Jayanthi Kumaresh and together delivered a performance that could easily…

February 3, 2014

Journey by SvarAmrita

By - on 03/02/2014 at 11:47 am


As you prepare yourself to listen to an album for the very first time, you naturally have a few thoughts running through your head. You have the visual stimulus of the album cover – the making of which is a lost art in itself, the list of personnel and the instruments featured and potentially the reputation of the band or the band members. You connect the dots and you have a benchmark already before you press play. And despite the short-term joy you could get at reasonably being correct about your predictions, there’s a tiny part of you that hopes that the music does what it should – simply blow your mind! Journey by Bangalore-based…


One doesn’t often relate a banjo with a tabla or an upright bass in the same setting. They originated from different corners of the world (the banjo originated from Africa, despite its popular country-ish sound associated with American Folk music) and are associated with styles that seem, on first impression, like chalk and cheese. Ordinarily, one does not see Bluegrass or American Folk music blending in with the groove of an upright bass, set to Hindustani beats from a tabla. But then again, banjo virtuoso Bela Fleck, double bass maestro Edgar Meyer and Tabla legend Ustad Zakir Hussain are not your regular, ordinary musicians. The 147-year old Bishop Cotton Boys’ School was the venue, on the 10th of February, for…


When I was a child, it did not take long for me to fall irreversibly in love with the beautiful, soul-stirring voice of Bombay Jayashri. Even to this day, she possesses an aura of a beautiful river during her kutcheries – humble, broad-minded and always in a state of flow. When I first heard about Bhoomija’s debut event ‘Listening to Life: A Journey of a Raga’, I felt it would be anything but a conventional Carnatic Kutcheri. Despite being aware of her numerous cross-cultural collaborations, I had to see for myself how Jayashri would perform music in its most global sense. I had also realized that conception and direction for the whole event was led…

November 3, 2011

Thermal And A Quarter at The BFlat Bar, Bangalore

By - on 03/11/2011 at 5:04 pm


Before reaching The BFlat Bar on 29th of October 2011, where Thermal And A Quarter were set to play that evening, I was on a different kind of high having witnessed an exhilarating football match. I caught up with TAAQ’s vocalist/guitarist/frontman Bruce Lee Mani who acknowledged BFlat as one of TAAQ’s favourite venues. There was a slight uncertainty about drummer Rajeev Rajagopal’s whereabouts near the start of the gig and naturally, manager Divya Joseph appeared a tad concerned. However, after numerous sightings of Rajeev which could now be confirmed as positive, TAAQ took to the stage with Bruce surrounded with an arsenal of three lovely guitars, the “little guy” Prakash who did a quick tune-check…

October 13, 2011

Vibha Dhwani at St. John’s Auditorium, Bangalore

By - on 13/10/2011 at 12:33 pm


I did not know much about, a charitable organization founded in 1991, when I entered the St. John’s Auditorium on Saturday. By the end of the evening, however, I developed great respect and admiration for the work they do. The event was called Vibha Dhwani where bands that strongly personify Indian culture – The Raghu Dixit Project (TRDP), Agam and La Pongal were invited to perform. Until Saturday afternoon, I was to watch TRDP, Agam and Yodhakaa play; however, due to slight confusion, as it was put, La Pongal, a Tamil folk rock band, replaced Yodhakaa in the line-up. The band which contained two key members from Yodhakaa was in the middle of their…