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‘Coke Studio Tamil’ S 1 curators Sean Ronald, Arivu with Coca-Cola India and South West Asia’s vice president of marketing Arnab Roy.

Long-running, global music series Coke Studio has gathered over 25 artists to launch its first-ever Tamil season, with eight songs set to release in the coming weeks.
The heavy-hitters include young and stalwart minds alike, from singer-songwriter and composer Sean Roldan and rapper-songwriter Arivu helming a bulk of the duties, featuring vocalists such as Chinmayi Sripaada, Tamil folk music veteran Pushpavanam Kuppusamy, singer Gaana Ulaganathan, Carnatic artist Sanjay Subramanyan and Khatija Rahman.
Representing modern and traditional music forms with an inclusive approach – as has often been the case with Coke Studio curating – singer-composer Benny Dayal, rock band Jhanu, producer OfRO, vocalist Meenakshi Elaiyaraja, transgender artist Gaana Vimala, tribal group Mullai Kalai Kuzhu, Oppaari artists Mutthammal and Mutthayya and Tamil Sufi artist Arifullah Shah Rafaee and storyteller John Pradeep are also part of Coke Studio Tamil season one.
At the press conference announcing the launch of Coke Studio Tamil, composer Sean Roldan mentioned that everything took place within the span of a month, with content production helmed by Motion Content Group and assists from lyricists like Krithika Nelson and Arivu. From songs about the environment, to a lullaby, to ones that touch upon faith and plurality and one that highlights war from a poet’s perspective, Arivu spoke at the press conference to emphasize that these were songs of Tamil people and ones that represented Tamil culture.

Arivu told Rolling Stone India in an interview later, “I’ve always dreamed of stages and they’re very important for an artist. But the process of recognition is very tough, especially in the South Indian music scene. So, it’s not easy for an artist to be happy offstage. It’s very challenging for artists once they get off the stage, according to me.” When the call came to him to be a part of Coke Studio Tamil, Arivu says he was in the midst of working on a new album, alongside other projects. “But I thought about how, through me, there are opportunities that can open up for other artists who inspired us, whom we met in this journey,” he adds.
A line that Arivu often repeats – and he did so on stage at the press conference as well – was “We are the dreams of our ancestors.” He adds, “In that way, I felt this could be a stage where a lot of missed art forms, a lot of missed messages – because of various reasons – can be placed here [on Coke Studio Tamil].”
Roldan, for his part, spoke about how it’s easy for him to bring people together and the challenge behind helming Coke Studio Tamil season one lay in its music. An indie artist first (as Sean Roldan & Friends) who began working in the Tamil film music space, Roldan says, “The richness of thought is what defines a civilization. For example, have Carnatic and Sufi ever interacted? We had to give context to the whole thing. We went back to the basics.”
By taking on Coke Studio Tamil season one, Roldan also hopes to show musicians as centered, professional and respectable people. When it came to composing wholly new tunes while drawing from traditional forms, Roldan says a lot of research was undertaken. “We just went through a lot of literature to understand what people have done before us,” he adds. They arrived at everything from metal-meets-oppaari to blues-influenced Tamil songs, hip-hop/rock ballads in season one.
Roldan says he’s a guy who makes people uncomfortable, just by asking a lot of questions and that was part of pushing artists out of their comfort zone to gain something authentic. He says about working with Khatija Rahman, who has so far been known for collaborations with her father, A.R. Rahman. “The first thing I told her was, ‘See, everybody knows whose daughter you are. But you forget that because you’ve come here as an artist, as my artist to express something you want to express,’” Roldan says about the process.
Rahman said the Coke Studio Tamil press conference was her first time at such an event as a solo artist, and her song “Sagavasi” was about coexistence, featuring lyrics by Arivu. She added in an interview later, “I would say I want to give my best version but then the team would say, ‘We want your raw version!’ I was definitely breaking out of my shell and trying a different genre. I’ve been taking Western vocal training for the last two years, but I didn’t know that it would help for this.”

Artists from ‘Coke Studio Tamil’ season one at the press conference in Chennai.
With cheers greeting every artist who was called on stage or announced as part of Coke Studio Tamil season one, it became apparent that representation and storytelling was at the core of everything that’s happening in the Tamil music industry today. Coke Studio Tamil is adding to the canon. Arivu says, “This journey is very important. I think all of my like the former all my past experiences had given me the strength and peace to handle all these things.”
Coca-Cola India and South West Asia’s vice president of marketing Arnab Roy spoke about wanting to pay obeisance to Tamil as one of the world’s oldest languages in launching Coke Studio Tamil. This region-specific edition launches after Coke Studio hit countries such as Brazil, Philippines, South Africa and of course, Pakistan. Coke Studio Bangladesh was also launched last year.
With the first song off Coke Studio Tamil expected to drop within a week and each track’s music video releasing monthly, Roy says he’d like to see as many seasons of the new edition as possible, given the vastness of the Tamil language. Roy adds, “We need to have enough time for people to tell the story, we are going to ensure that we are able to take the song outside of just the state [of Tamil Nadu] and ensure that we are able to give it a global platform.”

#Arivu #Sean #Roldan #Launch #Coke #Studio #Tamil #trailer

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