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Articles on Carnatic Music

My Journey Through Music
by Harini Raghavan

(This is the third of our article entries. Here we will print several entries to our article contest for your benefit.)

My journey through the world of Carnatic Music, though not exciting, is but interesting. I would call myself a self-made and self-appreciating musician. With my mother and two elder sisters as singers, I was convinced about my entitlement for a formal music training and at the tender age of 16, sought a teacher, trespassing the forethought of my mother about the difficulty in nurturing my limited talent. I found a ‘guru’ who was very considerate and even gave me an opportunity to play the tambura for her concert in a temple, especially because I had a tambura at home. My rigorous practice sessions at home always attracted more criticism than expected and seldom gained appreciation. Undeterred by this, I continued and even passed a Board exam in Music with minimum marks and maximum effort. My optimism guided me to several competitions where, to my utter dismay, I was denied even a consolation prize. I made up for it at another instance, by getting a First prize, where to my good fortune, there were only three contestants!

With my marriage, for a while, there was something positive about my music, when my husband’s family encouraged me to learn further. This boosted my morale. But seeing no significant improvement, they politely asked me to stop on the pretext that family chores were coming in the way of my regular practice! But my self appraisal had always put me on top! My interest in diversification and noble intention of imparting this valuable knowledge to others led me to the task of ‘teaching’ music. I selected four of my ardent fans as students. Despite their sincere effort, after several months of training they were still trying to perfect ‘Sarali Varisai.’

I got a breakthrough in my ‘musical career’ when I associated myself with a music organization and started voluntary work for it. Here I was acclaimed as a successful organizer and got an opportunity to arrange music concerts regularly.

My attention turned towards musicology and journalism as well, wherein I wrote articles on music and concert reviews which received good response and got published.

My popularity as an organizer brought me closer to senior Vidwans, who would even stay at our home during their concerts. One such Vidwan, out of courtesy (curiosity?), allowed me to sing in his presence (I had already sung in several Thyagaraja Aradhana programmes). My suppressed interest surfaced once again and I came up with my new Radel Sruthi box to exhibit my talent with all enthusiasm. At the end of the song, the Vidwan expressed his humble (also genuine?) opinion that I would do better as an organizer and journalist. Now I am back with a firm footing as an organizer, journalist and undoubtedly a hard core Rasika. I still occasionally entertain my husband with my Karnataka Sangeetha, who by all means is a sympathetic listener!!

So much to my musical career.


Harini Raghavan is Programme Coordinator for the Nadasurabhi Cultural Association in Koramangala, Bangalore. Contact harini raghavan at hotmail dot com



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updated on 08/15/2006