Consultant’s song is a musical treat

Rema Iyer, a consultant at the QEQM who has recorded a song about a humble rice dish. She is pictured by a professional-looking microphone and is wearing headphones.

Published on 21 April 2021

A humble rice dish inspired a lockdown music project by a consultant at the Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital in Margate.

Rema Iyer, who is a consultant gynaecological oncologist, involved her whole family in the project to create a song dedicated to Kanjyi – a rice porridge that is seen as an Indian comfort food.

Her mum, Dr Rohini Iyer penned the lyrics, Rema and her musician friend Ganesh Kumble wrote the music and her sister Chitra appeared alongside her in the video.

The Kanjyi Song was recorded just before Christmas and edited during the most recent lockdown. It has already amassed thousands of views since being released on their band Muzic India Ltd’s YouTube channel last week.

Rema said: “We had been talking about turning a recipe into a song as something fun to do and as my mum writes poems we asked her to help.

“She ended up writing the song about kanjyi, and how a hot bowl of it can make you feel better, and how you can have it plain or jazz it up with accompaniments.

“It’s a bit like Irish stew, it’s a real comfort food, and we had so much fun creating the song and the video.”

The Kanjyi song is the group’s first totally original single; they have previously recorded cover versions of popular Bollywood songs and a charity single for Indian Independence Day.

It was recorded on a home computer, and the video was shot on mobile phones with contributions from Rema’s friends and family.

Rema studied Indian classical music as a child, but stopped after moving to the UK – until she found a teacher in Harrow and rekindled her love for the genre.

Her sister is a professional singer but Rema chose to follow the academic route into medicine.

She said: “We are a very musical family but I was always academic too so I decided to study medicine and complete my training.

“I do have music playing in the operating theatre when I am working. My sister and I used to do shows together in India and it was lovely being able to record this song with her to celebrate kanyji – a dish that is simple but so tasty and satisfying.”