This Chennai musician is reinventing ancient instruments from different countries


Its likeness is stated to have been discovered on seals from the Harappan civilisation. Today, few musicians play the yazh, an ancient, stringed, harp-like conventional Tamil instrument — its presence has largely been relegated to museums, analysis items and uncommon non-public collections. Yet, 23-year-old Tharun Sekar has amassed sufficient know-how to craft one in his personal workshop and state that he is open to extra orders.

“The research alone took two whole months and making it took another two or three,” says Tharun over a cellphone name from his Chennai dwelling, to which he is presently restricted due to bodily distancing guidelines beneath the nationwide COVID-19 lockdown. But Tharun isn’t complaining, for his dwelling in Kodambakkam is additionally the place his open, inexperienced little studio-workshop is. “We would normally use this space to rehearse,” says Tharun, who kinds one half of the two-man, Tamil folk-pop outfit Othasevuru, “But this is also the space where I began making instruments.” So far, he has made a wide range of Western music instruments; it is with the yazh that he unveils his outfit Uru, geared toward creating lesser-known conventional instruments from all over the world. “In Uru, I attempt to redesign folks instruments, making them simpler to play and preserve. I wish to deliver up the playability of those instruments to world requirements, so that everybody can study them.

Tharun first started honing this instrument-making abilities on his personal, in 2014, again when he was 17 years previous. His maiden venture was a Hawaiian lap metal guitar, earlier than shifting on to different acoustic and electrical variants primarily from specs and directions discovered on-line. “Then in 2017, I began to be mentored by Erisa Neogy, from Auroville. I would show him the four or five instruments I had made by then, and he would give me pointers on how to improve it,” he says.

From there, it was a journey of one other two years earlier than Tharun obtained his first order for the yazh. “It came from a college professor in Madurai. He was in touch with us because he likes Othasevuru’s music, and we met him when we last visited Madurai. That was when this conversation happened.”

It was, he remembers, a harder venture than his earlier ones, largely as a result of the knowledge he wanted wasn’t available. “There are some mentions and descriptions in ancient texts and traditional literature, but they are also quite vague.” There are a lot of different challenges too, resembling sourcing the correct of wooden for every instrument, or a correct substitute in case the suitable wooden isn’t out there.

Now that the yazh is full, Tharun has moved on to the cajón. “And after the lockdown, I plan to start working on a Mongolian folk instrument called morin khuur. I want to redesign it,” he says. This, in a approach, can be much like the slight redesigns he made to his yazh as properly, the thought being to make it extra acquainted and easy. “In the yazh, for instance, I had adapted some characteristics of the lyre.” He believes this may encourage extra musicians to choose up these lesser-known intruments: music, in any case, needs to be common.

To get in contact with Tharun, observe uru.in on Instagram.

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