One of the biggest attractions on the concluding day at Storm music festival was a performance by artiste Gnana Anthony Dasan’s band Yen Party with Benny Dayal of Badmash Company fame. Anthony, who literally drew the crowd towards the stage as he began singing, said “Music has no birth or death. It has only melody. I search for that melody in every song I sing or write.”
Anthony’s foray into the music world had a rather modest start when he decided to play drums at death ceremonies in Chennai. Today, Anthony is one of the most wanted artistes in Chennai’s folk art scene. He plays drums, writes songs and even dances for his film songs.
“I come from difficult circumstances. I sang to earn bread for my family. My father was suffering from cardiac disease and my mother was an epileptic. Both of them were suffering and I was alone. I had to find a way to help them,” said the 35-year-old.
His simplistic view of life corelates to his music, making him an instantaneous hit among the crowds. “I am not used to all this. In fact, last night when I was given a tent to stay in, I slept with a pillow and wrapped myself with a towel. I was told later that the pillow was in fact a sleeping bag. I slept shivering,” he said, with an embarrassed smile.
Recollecting an experience from his early days, Anthony said, “I also danced in the Karaga festival where I had to carry a Karaga (a flower decorated pot) on my head. I loved it although I made little money. But, theat’s where I met Neetha, my wife, who also carried the Karaga and we fell in love,” he said.
At 16, Anthony married Neetha and the couple danced at festivals while Anthony continued drumming at death ceremonies. “One afternoon, I wrote a song while I was staring at the sky. I was lost and the song came to me like an angel. This was my turning point,” he added.
Anthony’s band deciding to jam on stage with Benny Dayal of Badmash Company fame came as a pleasant surprise to the audience. “This crowd is insane and the songs are so soulful and upbeat. We can dance all day and night,” said Krutika, a music buff.