Changing into the voice of a dancer


S. Rajeswari, recipient of the M.S. Subbulakshmi award, on how she selected to sing for dancer Kumari Kamala

S.Rajeswari, who was not too long ago honoured with the M.S.Subbulakshmi award by Tamil Nadu Eyal Isai Nataka Manram, needed to make a tough selection.

In 1967, on the Central Music School (the place Rajeswari was a scholar), veena vidwan S. Balachander was conducting a lecture-demonstration. Completely oblivious to all the pieces round her, Rajeswari started to hum whereas listening to the demonstration. A younger lady sitting proper in entrance of her rotated. It was the legendary Bharatanatyam dancer, Kumari Kamala, who was so taken by Rajeswari’s singing that she insisted she go to her dwelling.

I journey again in time to Pollachi, 1946. There was common pleasure within the air. As the whole nation was preparing for a brand new delivery, the Subramanian family welcomed a 3rd daughter, Rajeswari, who went on make her personal place within the music world.

She had the benefit of rising up in a house the place her two older siblings had been already receiving coaching in music. When she was 5, the household moved to Madras after which started her musical journey. Rajeswari acknowledges the good position that her academics performed in laying a powerful basis in classical music and shaping her as a singer.

Coaching below stalwarts

She started studying from Thanjai Balasubramaniam and later educated below Ramnad Krishnan. When Ramnad Krishnan grew to become too busy with performances, Rajeswari got here below the tutelage of Madurai Krishna Iyengar. At about the identical time, she obtained coaching in Thevaram and Thiruppugazh from Dharmapuram Swaminathan. Later, S. Rajam and D.Ok. Jayaraman additionally educated her.

When she joined the Central School of Carnatic Music, she was as soon as once more blessed to be taught from stalwarts like T. Brinda, Ok.V. Narayanaswamy, T.M. Thiagarajan, T.Ok. Govinda Rao and ‘Sandyavandanam’ Srinivasa Rao (the then Principal of the faculty).

It was in school that she met Kamala. The assembly modified her future. Her father inspired Rajeswari to make her personal resolution. His solely recommendation: “Don’t stray from the teachings you will have learnt.”

She was at a fork within the street and he or she made the selection to hitch Kamala. Till Kamala left India in 1975, Rajeswari was her voice simply as Shammi Kapoor famously stated, “Rafi was my voice”. She learnt the finer nuances of singing for dance and if Kamala conveyed bhava by dance, Rajeswari did so by her singing.

She had begun to carry out solo concert events on the age of 11. She was all of 15 when she first sang at The Music Academy. So, when she made her foray into dance music, she continued to carry out concert events.

In 1979, she joined her alma mater as a lecturer and later grew to become Principal. In parallel, her singing profession too progressed. In 1983, former Chief Minister MGR attended the efficiency of Vempatti Chinna Satyam’s manufacturing ‘Srinivasa Kalyanam’ wherein Rajeswari sang for the veteran dancer. So impressed was MGR with the singing that he instituted an award for dance-musicians and Rajeswari grew to become the primary recipient of the Kalaimamani State Award for dance-music.

In 1996, she was chosen by ICCR, New Delhi, to show music for 4 years on the Indira Gandhi Centre for Indian Tradition in Mauritius. It was a difficult in addition to enriching expertise. However when Rajeswari returned to India in 2000, the live performance gives started to dwindle. She continued to show, practice and sing. She even launched a set of 13 cassettes that include fundamental classes in Carnatic music. She quickly received many accolades, essentially the most vital being the Sangeet Natak Akademi award in 2012.

The sturdy basis in music enabled her to improvise and even compose at brief discover. She recollects an incident when a rasika got here backstage earlier than a programme, wanting Kamala to bop to a composition he had written on Lord Muruga. Rajeswari set it to tune throughout the interval and Kamala danced to it spontaneously.

Humbled to obtain an award named after the long-lasting M.S., Rajeswari says it reminds her of the appreciation that she bought from M.S. and DKP.

The Chennai-based writer is a

freelance author.

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