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'I can play that song!'

A pianist has been writing books that help enthusiasts play popular English and Hindi film tunes

S Rajgopal studied the piano under the late Tony Menezes in Calcutta, passed his Trinity College exams, and then set his eyes on Mumbai, where he wanted to work with bigtime film music composers. But that was not to be. Domestic circumstances forced him to other places, where he did odd jobs.

After some years Raj, as he is known, returned to music. He taught for a while in Delhi, but that was a city he didn't feel comfortable in. He now lives in Bangalore, and plays every evening at the Taj Residency. He has also been writing books to help people who want to play popular English and Hindi tunes on their instruments.

His first book is titled Easy to Play Popular Tunes in Hindi/English. He published it in October 98 and released it in Bangalore and Chennai.

People not familiar with Western notations found it difficult to use that edition, which prompted him to come out with a revised version with both sa-re-ga-ma and Western notations. He also added guitar chords. This edition, priced at Rs 220, comes with an audio cassette of Hindi songs played by Raj.

"Instrumental music has no language and I enjoy playing both Western classical and Hindi film songs," the pianist told The Music Magazine.

Songs featured in his book include Somewhere my love, Rasputin, I just called to say I love you, Barbie Girl, and Ajeeb dastan hai, Jeena yahan, Meri bhigi bhigi si, Pyar diwana hota hain and the more recent Mere rang me.

"Everyone now wants to play music, which is very encouraging," he says. He hopes his book will reach more people, and is looking for people who can market it. Volume 1 is out, and you can expect more popular songs in his forthcoming volumes.

Rajgopal's e-mail ID: srgopal@bgl.vsnl.net.in

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