BY LAUREN FRAYER
For 35 years, O.S. Arun has been a professional singer of Carnatic music, a classical genre popular in South India. It’s an embellished form of singing frequently backed by the tanpura, a long-necked, stringed instrument that emits a constant drone. He’s recorded several dozen albums.
Arun is famous for adapting outside songs to Carnatic style. He once performed a Carnatic version of “Danny Boy” onstage in Ireland. He also played a Carnatic tribute to the late Beatle George Harrison alongside the Indian musician Ravi Shankar and others at London’s Royal Albert Hall during a concert featuring Eric Clapton and Ringo Starr.
But this summer, when Arun advertised a concert of Christian hymns in Carnatic style, social media erupted, calling him a traitor to his Hindu faith.