Chennai-ite Chitra Parthasarathy is a member of PMG (Pioneer Music Gym). She simply loves the music sessions at PMG. This concept is the brainchild of musician-cum-drummer V. J. Suresh. This gentleman began as a drummer in 1983. The famous Sivamani happens to be his Manaseega-guru. V. J. Suresh was born to Ilavarasi and Janardhanan of Thiruvannamalai and Renukkaambal of Padavedu happens to be the family deity.
“I have done about seven-thousand five hundred concerts and have worked with Pallavi and Surthi (Private Orchestras). My interest took me to Singapore, and I was a band-leader at a local pub in the international city state. I came back with the idea of getting into the film industry. Wanted to enter the movie world through television, but God had other plans. I joined the popular music director, Deva, and worked with him for 5 years (1997–2002). The film industry was not my cup of tea and I came out of it. I did a lot of corporate concerts and marriage events. Infosys, TCS and MRF have been my clients. The employees would sing along. Traveling around the world with the iconic singer, K. J. Yesudas, was an unforgettable experience. I have done programs with the Super Star Singers, Chitra and S. P. Balasubramaniam as well,” stated Suresh over a SKC (Sweet, Kaaram, Coffee) chat with The Verandah Club.
The creative drummer founded the Pioneer Music Gym in 2016 and a number of non-professional singers came along with him, advocates, doctors, chartered accountants, and a housewife (Totally 8 of them). Basically, a room with pucca acoustics would house batches of singers. These singer members would congregate and sing songs and the songs script would be made available to them. The Karaoke system would be in play and the entire facility is air-conditioned. Pioneer Music Gym has pioneered this process and they have a couple of centers in Chennai.
“Each session will go on for three hours and the singers are placed in batches. I realized that anybody with the basics of 40% of music in them could sing and they can easily be brought up to 80%. All these amateur singers are happy to destress themselves and I end up listening to 120 songs every Sunday. We have three batches on each Sunday. PMG has registered its trademark and they are also into charity. It has been possible to contribute about 40 lakhs of rupees through concerts in the last few years. Many of our amateur member singers love to do live concerts. They access CSR funds, do a concert and make the money over to an NGO. This is music for a cause. Our trust PMG SSW (Social Service Wing). Thus, programs at retirement homes and orphanages regularly. I choose eight members and they perform for free. The songs are chosen based on the age of the audience. Our team offers songs by Rahman for youngsters and the songs of Ilayaraja for older people. We have formatted a lot of things. Our app has a lot of songs, and our team members use it in order to prepare themselves. Yes, we are present in a number of social media platforms. We have 9600+ subscribers on YouTube. Ours is a gym and therefore we have workouts too. We help people to work out on their vocal cords. The sruthi will be changed during the practice sessions and this will aid in the improvement of the vocal cords. We do have famous guest singers once in a way,” added V. J. Suresh.
Pioneer Music Gym is planning to expand into cities like Bangalore and Coimbatore. They have chosen the franchise model and are in the process of partnering with senior musicians who are backed by an experience of 25 years or more. They hope to take cinema music to everybody. V. J. Suresh takes pride in stating that his orchestra is among the best in South India. He pointed out that singing is good for general health and mental health as well. He has scripted success by encouraging amateur singers to destress themselves with the aid of good movie songs.
Nadhopasana has been a part of Indian culture since time immemorial. Poetry and music have been preserving the memories and strengths of our civilization. Indian theater was robust because of its musical background and its child, the cinema, continues to be so. Indian cinema is unique, for it is among the few in the world to contain songs. Dance dramas have evolved into dramas which contain music and conversations. The effect of the same kept the society content and happy. This happened in the backdrop of a situation wherein some ideologies had forced people to refrain from taking to singing and dancing. The happy and inclusive bharatheeya mind has been humming away to joy because of its musical tradition. A song for everything has been the order of the day and Indian cinema has but reflected the same. It must be a real pleasure to be a part of organizations like PMG.
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