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Sooraj Santhosh Croons for Kerala’s Guiding Cultural Figures in ‘Thani Malayalam’

The contemporary folk song is part of the former Masala Coffee singer-composer’s upcoming album ‘The Gypsy Sun’

Anurag Tagat Aug 29, 2020

Multilingual singer-composer Sooraj Santhosh. Photo: Avinash Krishnan

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Arriving coincidentally around the same time as Kerala’s best-known festival of Onam, Thiruvananthapuram-bred singer-composer Sooraj Santhosh’s new song “Thani Malayalam” salutes important figures in the state’s cultural, artistic and literary field who have helped him appreciate Malayalam as a language.

Previously the frontman and lead singer of folk rockers Masala Coffee, Santhosh left the band late last year and has since been writing and recording material for his upcoming solo debut album The Gypsy Sun. A seasoned voice in film music for about a decade (recently featuring on songs for movies like Kumbalangi Nights), Santhosh turns to lightheaded folk arrangements for “Thani Malayalam,” which incorporates nadaswaram and mridangam alongside guitar and bass.

He adds about the single, “Malayalam is a very important part of my life. I think, read and express myself best in Malayalam. The video features people who have influenced not just me but I think may be every person who loves Malayalam. The authors are a part of the larger canvas featuring other eminent personalities in art, culture and cinema.”

The video, directed by filmmaker Goutham Soorya, captures the artists in what looks like their homes and rehearsal spaces — authors and writers such as M.T. Vasudevan Nair, Sara Joseph, Benyamin, actor Nedumudi Venu, Kathakali veteran dancer Peeshapilly Rajeevan, calligraphy artist Bhattathiri, dancer Methil Devika, seasoned chenda (a percussive folk music drum) artist Peruvanam Kuttan Marar and shadow puppeteer Ramachandra Pulavar.

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Santhosh has been navigating the pandemic just like most artists and is adapting as the situation changes. There are plans to release the rest of The Gypsy Sun in the next two months. He adds about the upcoming six-track multi-lingual album, “It is a reflection of all that I am and everything that made me who I am. It has a multi-genre sound and you may find that it comes under alternative, world music genres in terms of sound and music production. I will be releasing the rest of the tracks over the next couple of months.”

Watch the video for “Thani Malayalam” below. 

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