Friday Review » Music

Updated: December 18, 2009 18:47 IST

AIR has been a great support

lalithaa krishnan
print   ·   T  T  
Meera Sivaramakrishnan.
Meera Sivaramakrishnan.

Musical background…

Music runs in my family and in my blood. My mother, Radha Narayanan, a Kalaimamani awardee is my guru and guide. A disciple of Trivandrum Harihara Iyer and Dwaram Venkataswami Naidu, she has had the honour of accompanying many eminent artistes. My aunt Maragatham Ramaswami is an accomplished vocalist and violinist. My brother Madhusudhan is a graded mridangam artist. I was recognised as a child prodigy and my name featured in a book authored by writer Sura. My son Kaushik was also a child prodigy. and won the best violinist award at the Music Academy.

Initial Steps…

Residing in Kolkata, until my ninth standard, the constant interaction with visiting Carnatic musicians inspired me to take to music seriously, in my formative years. In 1979, we shifted to Chennai, for more learning opportunities and exposure.

Performance record…

I made my debut at age nine, in a violin duet with my mother at Tamil Sangam, Ranchi. My first concert as accompanist was for my aunt, at Sri Krishna Gana Sabha (1979). Even as a child artiste, I began accompanying eminent musicians such as Mani Krishnaswami, M. Balamuralikrishna-garu, N. Ramani, Mandolin Srinivas and Sudha Raghunathan. In one memorable instance, at age fifteen, I accompanied the great flute maestro, Mali, and won his appreciation. At another such rare opportunity, I accompanied Madurai Somu at a Navaratri concert.

Setting Records…

In 1985, I set a Guinness Record by playing the violin non-stop for 26 hours at the Ratnagirishwarar Temple, Chennai. In this endeavour, I had the good fortune and privilege of being accompanied by illustrious vidwans such as Umayalpuram Sivaraman, T.V. Gopalakrishnan, Thanjavur Kumar, Thanjavur Subramaniam and Raja Rao.

Honing my craft…

I make it a point to practise everyday to maintain my standard. I also listen to concerts whenever possible.


Apart from my parents, my husband and his family have been very supportive and without them I would not be what I am today.

Concert tours abroad…

My first tour abroad was in 1988, when I accompanied Mani Krishnaswami for a series of concerts during the Festival of India in Russia, followed by one in Germany. The people loved our music and attended in large numbers. We also had some performances and a BBC programme in London. My other memorable concerts took place in Bahrain, Brussels, and the World Bank, Washington DC.

AIR stint…

In 1989, I joined AIR as a staff artiste. AIR has been a constant source of inspiration not only for me, but for all artists. It has nurtured Carnatic music for many decades and provides opportunities for musicians to excel. I am grateful for its contribution to me as an artist.

On being a soloist and accompanist…

The two are undoubtedly distinct roles. Each is a different learning experience. As accompanist, the focus is on being supportive to the main artist. In solo programmes, one can get more creative.

Awards and recognition…

Aasthana Vidwan of Ratnagiriswarar temple and the title ‘Naan Isai Vallabhi,' in recognition of my musical feat. Receiving the National (Indira Priyadarshini) Award (1995), at New Delhi, was an unforgettable moment. Kalaimamani Award (2002), MLV Award for vocalist (2003), Sriragam Fine Arts. Prizes include Best Violinist (Sri Krishna Gana Sabha), Outstanding Violinist (Music Academy and Indian Fine Arts Society, Chennai).

Other interests…

I am a graded vocalist and I have also a keen interest in fabric painting and my works decorate my home.


I look forward to my forthcoming violin duets with my son Kaushik this season.



Recent Article in Music

Chaitanya Brothers B. Krishnamachari and M. Satyanarayana Sarma Photo: C.V. Subrahmanyam

Shades of expression

Chaitanya Brothers tried their best to bring out the nuances of Annamayya sankirtanas. »