Born in 1978, I was initiated into the world of Carnatic Music by Vid. Gayatri Kesavan, Vid. Vasanta Ramanujam and Vid. RS Ramakanth. My mother used to learn the veena and the pure strains of the veena was my first glimpse into Carnatica. It was my mother who ensured that I trained and practiced regularly – and that went a long well in inculcating the discipline required for this art form.
My learning had to take a four year break when I had to pursue engineering at BITS, Pilani where I specialised in software. However, the break only served to increase my focus and convinced me that Carnatic Music was definitely the love of my life!!!
Winning a few prestigious competitions such as the National Level All-India-Radio (AIR) music contest, the Bangalore Gayana Samaj Best Concert, etc. inspired me to take music more seriously.
I was taken under the fold of Sangeetha Kalanidhi Sri RK Srikantan for over a decade. Since 2002, I have been under the tutelage of Vidwan Sri TM Krishna and am fortunate to be one of his senior most students.
In the world of Carnatic Music, the kritis of Muttusvami Dikshitar hold a special place in my heart. The intricate lyrics, the sweeping glides, the majestic chowka kala pramanam (slow tempo) – all of it moves me beyond words!!! I have performed over a dozen concerts consisting of only Dikshitar’s kritis and have even recorded an exclusive album consisting of Rare Kritis of Dikshitar.
I perform regularly in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and other parts of India. I have performed at several leading venues and festivals including the famed December Music Festival at Chennai. I also had the privilege and honor of performing at the Navaratri Mandapam in Trivandrum during the 2011 Navaratri Celebrations.
Apart from a concert career, I also dabbled for a while in radio. I hosted two shows on Shruti - the 24 hour Carnatic Radio Station on Worldspace Satellite Radio where I expounded various aspects of Carnatic Music such as ragas, melakartas and also talk about the ancient musicians who have dotted the Carnatic landscape. The shows were extremely successful and I receive warm words of appreciation from listeners even now.
I also have a great passion for teaching and have conducted lecture-demonstrations in India, Singapore and France.
On the musical front, I consider myself deeply rooted in Sampradaya. It is my opinion that Carnatic Music lies in the myriad rakthi ragas such as Todi, Bhairavi, Kambhoji, Varali, Suruti and so on...
I strongly feel that a concert has to be a passionate musical experience - if the artist on stage is charged with sheer love for what he/she is singing, the listeners would also be drawn into the experience. Innovation is great - but it has to be a natural progression backed by ability and passion!!! If you don't enjoy every moment of your music, then how do you expect your listeners to enjoy??
I am married to Archana who is a Bharatanatyam dancer and we are blessed with a daughter and a son.
Enamored by the rich compositions of Muthuswami Dikshitar, I founded a trust dedicated to the popularization and propogation of Dikshitar’s kritis – called – Guruguhaamrta. Under this trust, I have so far organized several exclusive concerts of Muthuswami Dikshitar’s compositions. I have also conducted workshops of Dikshitar Kritis. Guruguhaamrta also organizes a regular aradhana for Dikshitar at his Holy Samadhi at Ettayapuram (Tamilnadu).
In order to be able to pursue music more seriously, I have relocated to Chennai since 2013.
Music is a journey which requires constant saadhana (practice) and chinthana (introspection).
It is a journey which poses challenges at every step.
But it is a journey filled with indescribable joy and peace!!!
After all, it was Thyagaraja who said:
“…ilaagani vivarimpa lenu, tsaala svaanubhava vedyame….”
(I cannot describe it – it can only be experienced by oneself!!!)