Gayathri Sankaran, a visually-challenged Carnatic singer and Padma Shri awardee, was felicitated with the title of “Distinguished Differently Abled Artiste” at the ninth edition of the ‘Parallel Music Fest’ that was inaugurated in the city on Monday. N. Murali, Co-Chairman of Kasturi & Sons Ltd, and president of Music Academy, who presented the award citation to Ms. Sankaran commended her for compiling music notations in Braille to help visually challenged people learn Carnatic music.

He lauded the ‘Parallel Music Fest’— a music festival for the differently abled — that has grown in importance and stature and become a part of the larger Margazhi fest in December.

He also felicitated Carnatic vocalist Sudha Ragunathan, this year’s Sangita Kalanidhi designate, and added that Ms. Ragunathan was one of the youngest musicians to be chosen for the award instituted by the Music Academy.

Ms. Sudha Ragunathan, who adjudged a competition among college students along with Carnatic musician O.S. Arun, said that it had been her dream to receive the Sangita Kalanidhi ever since she was a disciple of veteran Carnatic musician M.L. Vasanthakumari.

This year, about 250 differently-abled students participated in the competitions held in the categories of light music (vocal and instrumental) and Carnatic music. While Gomathi of Presidency College and Akshaya of Queen Mary’s College were winners in the light music and Carnatic music categories, J. Joseph, Prem and R. Karthikeyan were chosen as winners in instrumental music.

The ‘Parallel Music Fest’ was organised by Rotary Club of Madras Coromandel in association with Vodafone and Chola MS Health Insurance.

More In: Chennai | News | Arts