Marching to her own beat

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As soon as Shreyal Sanchayyan gets home from school, she is in front of her drums. “This is a routine. My day is incomplete without music,” says the 16 year old who studies in The Indian Public School in the city. A member of the Udalveli Arts Foundation, she has also performed in seven shows.
Though she began learning drums only four years ago, Shreyal “I was interested in it from a very young age and would make sounds with kitchen utensils.” Her parents identified her interest in music and sent her for violin classes when was in Class II. “Even at that age, I knew that was not the kind of music I was looking for.” It was when she saw an artiste performing on drums on television that something clicked. “I fell in love with the instrument and began to use the table and my desk to play. By the time I was in std VII, my parents realised that I was serious and gifted me my drum kit.”
Drumming is more than just a hobby for her. “It is like therapy. I went through a hard time when my father passed away in 2017. Drumming was my way out. I would play for hours and my love and regard for music increased manifold then. I know what it is capable of doing to a person.”
Shreyal is a member of her school’s music band, 3:00 AM. “My first performance was in school. I was very nervous and almost shaking. Later, I joined Udalveli Arts Foundation where I was introduced to many traditional instruments like Frog Guiro. Now, I am confident and enjoy the crowd while I perform.” From musician Leon James, she learnt to play the Australian aborginal instrument didgeridoo. “I was fascinated by its shape. When Leon played it, I felt like the whole room vibrated with the sound. I took one of his didgeridoos for practice and learnt the basics in a few weeks. Leon then gifted it to me. I am still learning to play it.”
Fav FiveBands: One Ok Rock, Sleeping With Sirens, MetallicaSongs: Mighty Long Fall by One OK Rock and Sleeping with Sirens’ If You Can’t Hang by and How it Feels to be LostDrummers: Sivamani, Travis BarkerMusicians: A R Rahman, Yuvan Shankar Raja, D ImmanGenres: Reggae, Samba and Heavy MetalWhile Shreyal composes her own beats, she loves “western styles like Reggae, Samba and heavy metal. Most of these styles have a standard set of beats that can be experimented with. Now I have also learnt to play Tamil folk beats.”
But drumming needs lots of energy, she says, and you need to communicate your enjoyment to the audience. “It can be tricky, as after a while the entire body will ache at the impact. But the real challenge is to not show it and complete the song.”
Future dreams? Shreyal wants to join AR Rahman’s KM Music Conservatory and be a professional drummer.