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All Music Guide:
Vijaya Anand (born Jude Matthew) is one of the top composers of music for the films of India. Since 1982, Anand (whose adopted name means "victory and ecstasy") has composed the scores of numerous movies in the Tamil and Taluga languages and has recorded in the Kannada language, which he does not speak. While his music is rooted by ancient Indian melodies, his use of modern instrumentation including electric guitar and synthesizers allows him to bridge the traditional and the contemporary sounds of India. The son of a middle school teacher and a post office employee, Anand was raised in a staunch Catholic home. At the age of seven, his future life was set on its course when he discovered the rehearsal space of an orchestra that performed cinema music. Inspired by what he heard he began to frequent the group's rehearsals. Convincing his parents to buy him a set of bongos, he taught himself to improvise on the instrument. Within a year, he was playing well enough that he was invited to play with the orchestra. Anand continued to be fascinated by music. In the tenth grade, he performed with the school orchestra and wrote his first compositions on harmonium. Leaving school to form a band, The Melody Cans, he tried unsuccessfully to break into cinema music. Frustrated by his inability to find work as a composer, he took a job as a lathe operator in northern Midras. The job required a four-hour commute by train and a grueling eight-hour work day. At the urging of friends, Anand began to work again with the Melody Cans. Completing a diploma course in music at Trinity College of Music in London, during which he studied music theory, piano and classical guitar, and lessons in Southern Indian carnatic music, Anand began to make progress in the music field. After playing background music for Tamil stage dramas, Anand got his first chances to direct films.