What’s so special, you might ask. Thuvarakan is doing all this in his nondescript room at Jaffna, Sri Lanka, where he was born and lived through three civil wars — in 1995, 2000 and 2006. And, he can play a dozen instruments, including the mridangam, tabla, morsing, violin and guitar. “Jaffna is famous for its culture. But due to the conflict, musicians here do not have access to technology like our counterparts in the Indian film industry. Of late though, the signs are encouraging; people are trying to produce their own albums and short films,” he says.
His passion for music started when he was just three. His father, a singer, was his inspiration at that time. “I started listening to Tamil film songs in my childhood. My father, who is also my first music guru, taught me the popular ‘Kanne Kalaimaane’ song,” he recalls in an e-mail interview. Soon, Thuvarakan was enrolled for mridangam classes, an instrument in which he showed promise.
In 2012, even as he struggled with his studies, he formed a music band called Vaanavil. Consisting of 18 members, the band plays Carnatic, English, Tamil and Sinhala songs. The reach of the band might be restricted, but Thuvarakan seems to be making use of social media to get noticed. “In Jaffna, we have very less media support; they do not give priority to Tamil musicians,” he writes. “We are dependent on social media to reach our talent to the world. It also helps us get exposed to different styles of music.” After finishing his Ordinary Level Exam, Thuvarakan got a chance to use social media to his advantage. His first independent release was a song he composed for his school cricket match. Buoyed by the appreciation he received, Thuvarakan did a cover version of the ‘Yaendi’ song from Puli and uploaded it. “I got a lot of positive feedback for that,” he says. Soon, he was working on other covers of songs from hit Tamil films. The youngster, who considers Ilaiyaraaja and A.R. Rahman, as his role models, dreams of becoming a composer in the Indian music industry someday. “I will finish my university education in four years and then shift to Chennai to make my dreams come true,” he says.
Check out his work at facebook.com