Published: 12th January 2021
This 24-year-old's a cappella covers are so good that you'll keep listening to them on loop
The Instagram handle of Swayamsiddha Priyadarshi is the only playlist you need to liven things up. We listen to his various compositions and think that you should too. Here's his story, read on
In the makeshift studio at Swayamsiddha Priyadarshi's place in Hyderabad, you will never find the sitar in its case. It's always among his other equipment like ring lights, a keyboard and mics, standing out in all its majestic grandeur, beckoning him to pluck at the strings. And Swayam never resists. Now, taking work from home into consideration, the 24-year-old has had even more time to heed to the sitar's call and together, they have taken Instagram by storm. Take his Indianised cover of the Pirates of the Caribbean theme song for example, which is mixed with a touch of Raag Darbari, or even the Harry Potter one in which he even uses a pair of scissors to create a percussion sound that blends seamlessly with Raag Kirwani. Indigenous! And for Hindustani classical music aficionados, there is the more traditional Piya Tora Kaisa Abhiman.
As part of his internship project at Microsoft, he has to work on the sound design experience of an international app called Kaizala
Belonging to the Etawah Gharana, a school of sitar, and currently training under Ramprapanna Bhattacharya, Swayam treats the world of Instagram with these one-man orchestra. And what a treat it has been. It all started with the need to jam, something that he did a lot of while pursuing Product Design from the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad. "And with COVID, social distancing and the absence of friends who were musicians, I decided to record tracks and jam over them. Then, I scaled them into an end-to-end cover," says the Bhubaneswar-born. It started with Coldplay's Viva La Vida and now we are here. Instagram played the perfect host, offering nine frames within one, in each one he would be using something different to enhance the musical experience of the track. Pouring a beverage from one glass to another, clinking the glass with the spoon — you name it. The digital audio workstation GarageBand and the video-editing app Adobe Premiere Pro have helped him achieve wonderful audio and video quality.
Swayam | (Pic: Swayamsiddha Priyadarshi)
Swayam's musical journey started with a synthesiser, but the will to pursue the line of Hindustani classical drove him to the sitar, which he started playing in class VIII. By class XII, he was an All India Radio artist in Bhubaneswar. And since then, it has been a journey of exploration. "What I like the most about the sitar is that you can glide from one note to another more seamlessly when compared to other instruments," says the youngster who has performed in his fair share of events. Though it is a slightly tough instrument to master, he kept at it sincerely and is still attending online classes for it.
He spent a semester at Politecnico Di Milano, Italy and jammed with artists on the streets thrice
Swayam prefers the title music arranger over musician. And though his foremost strength lies in playing the sitar, what he focuses on is delivering a good experience to the listener. Since he works as a UX Designer, responsible for the Microsoft Word and PowerPoint app, he sees a salient connection between music and design. In fact, he wishes to pursue Sound Design Interaction. But more importantly, "I am strongly inclined towards Indian classical music and I want to help create a sense of appreciation for it among all," he says and signs off.
With his sitar | (Pic: Swayamsiddha Priyadarshi)
Must-listen among his work:
- Aaj Ibaadat - Bajirao Mastani (A Capella)
- My Heart Will Go On - Titanic (Indian classical)
- Mission Impossible theme
- Rasode mein kaun tha? - Sitar Cover
For more on him, check out instagram.com/swayam.96