By KS Kalidas
Aishwarya Vidya Raghunath
Aishwarya Vidya Raghunath, 21 year-old vocalist from Bangalore, “has the attitude to match her art”, remarked a critic three years ago, reviewing her concert. He also added that music was in her blood. As a youngster acknowledged in Chennai and elsewhere as possessing considerable talent, both statements ring true. When she sings, it is with effortless ease and total confidence. She exudes a cheerfulness that vibes well with the audience as with her pakkavadyam artists. Her music is unhurried, but the grip and tension that are the hallmarks of good concert quality music is present; the concert does not sag. Her singing is full-throated but not noisy. It is apparent to listeners that she enjoys her music – svanubhava, in other words.
Aishwarya first learnt music from P.S. Vasantha and later from Seethalakshmi Venkatesan who is a widely respected guru in Bangalore. When she was only four-years old, she was taken to sing before the giants Semmangudi and M.S. Subbulakshmi and both praised her prodigious talent. At ten years of age, she started undergoing training with vidwan P.S. Narayanaswamy and from seventeen, with Vegavahini Vijayaraghavan, daughter of T. Brinda, both based in Chennai. She also continues to learn from Seethalakshmi in Bangalore. Would not learning from three guru-s simultaneously cause confusion and difficulties? “No”, she says. “Both Seethalakshmi and PSN Sir are from Semmangudi’s hierarchy and who but Vega Amma for padam-s, javali-s and select kriti-s of the Dhanammal pathantaram?” Aishwarya is intelligent enough not to mix up styles, so no harm is done.
She won the first prize in AIR competitions in 2008 and received a government scholarship to train under P.S. Narayanaswamy. She has also won prizes and awards from institutions in Bangalore and Chennai and has performed in major sabha-s in these cities as well as elsewhere in India.
Academically, Aishwarya has graduated in engineering – biotechnology to be exact and is planning to pursue advanced studies in the subject with bias towards research. This, she hopes would leave her enough time to pursue what she loves most – music.
(Reproduced from Sruti 312, September 2010)