Kirthan follows in father’s footsteps
LIKE father like son. This is definitely the case with music great Karthiegasen and his teenage son, Kirthan Pillay.
Following in his father’s footsteps, Pillay received his first standing ovation at the age of 3 when he performed at his nursery school’s concert, singing the late Cape Town singer Ricardo Groenewald’s hit song I Love You Daddy.
Pillay, 19, of Ballito, north of Durban, is a music student and also teaches music part-time.
He will perform in Germany tomorrow at the Just Love Festival and will also feature in a music concert at the izulu Theatre, Sibaya Casino, on June 22 and 23.
His mother, Vanessa, said Pillay first showed an interest in music when he was in her womb.
“My mother, who is also an accomplished musician, said I would move whenever I heard my father’s voice,” said Pillay.
“With both parents who are artists, I was raised on the stage. I slept in a carry cot while my parents performed.”
Pillay also plays the thabla (North Indian drum), mridangam (South Indian drum) and also a bit of the kazoo, cajun and the piano. He refers to his father, who trained him musically, as a “walking encyclopedia on music”. He said his father was a Carnatic music specialist – which is the highest genre of music and is authentic and educational.
“I, too, am a student of Carnatic music, however,
I have chosen to target the youth by revolutionising my music – combining different genres, introducing different instruments.”
Staying true to his name, Kirthan, which means devotional songs, Pillay loves singing kirthans about the life of the Hindu God Krishna. He also enjoys singing Bollywood and Kollywood hits.
Pillay has entertained audiences in South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, Kenya, London, Reunion, Mauritius, India and Germany.