Song of Surrender

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Generation Next

By KS Kalidas

K. Gayatri

(Reproduced from Sruti 295, April 2009)

This 24-year old’s musical personality reflects her sunny, vivacious nature. It is a joy to watch and hear her perform on the stage. She readily breaks into a smile when she negotiated a difficult sanchara or her accompanists complement her in her swara-combinations or korvai-s.

A promising young musician who has graduated from the junior to sub-senior slot, her climb to the present level has been steady over the last eight years since she gave her first serious concert. Her style is not of the flashy or exotic variety nor is it dull or pedestrian. She is the premier student of Suguna Purushothaman, arguably the most talented among Musiri’s disciples and one who commands high respect from the musical fraternity for her vidwat and dazzling pallavi-s in rare tala-s.

Gayatri had her initial training from Indira Ramanathan for about five years and has since been with Suguna for 14 years. Apart from learning many kriti-s from her, she has also been trained to render ragam-tanam-pallavi. Although the scope for rendering RTPs in a one-and-a-half or two-hour concert is limited, she has managed to sing a few in her concerts. She has also rendered pallavi-s in RTP-dedicated programmes with gratifying results. Her laya sense is very good and although in the earlier years she tended to go heavy on this aspect, she has managed to tone it down to optimum levels. A clear and mobile voice and good articulation of sahitya are her added assets.

She has sung in almost all sabha-s in Chennai and, in many of them, she has won recognition as the best vocalist in her class. The main sabha-s in which she has sung and won awards are Music Academy (twice), Kartik Fine Arts, Sri Thyaga Brahma Gana Sabha, Indian Fine Arts Society, Narada Gana Sabha, Sri Krishna Gana Sabha, Raja Annamalaipuram Bhakta Jana Sabha, Rasika Ranjana Sabha (Tiruchi) and Music Forum (Mumbai). She has perfomed in various places in India as well as in Singapore.

Her prizes include four tambura-s in competitions. She has won the CCRT scholarship for eight years and holds a two-year scholarship from the Department of Culture, GOI. She has cut three CDs for Carnatica and one for Saregama.

Gayatri is a B-High graded artist of AIR.

The earliest influence on Gayatri has been her grandmother Saroja Balasubramanian who learnt veena from Mudicondan Narayanaswamy Iyer – his son Mudicondan Ramesh is now a well known veena vidwan. Her co-disciple during those days was P.S. Narayanaswamy! The doting grandparents and her caring guru helped her to discover her priority in life. In an age when a girl has to choose between academics (and the inevitable professional career) and music, Gayatri wisely settled for a vanilla graduation (B.Com) but did her M.A. and M. Phil. in Music in Madras University, which have given her an insight into music theory as well.

Already two titles have been conferred on her: Isai Chudar by Kartik Fine Arts and Sangeeta Sree by R.R. Sabha, Tiruchi. These by themselves are not unusual these days but the winning of the ITC Sangeet Research Academy Award for young artists and the Kalki Krishnamurthy Memorial Award 2008 are feathers in her cap.

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