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Candid questions, interesting answers over coffee with Aruna Sairam

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OFF STAGE: Vocalist Aruna Sairam talks to rasikas at an interactive programme organised by the Global Carnatic Music Association in Chennai on Tuesday.
OFF STAGE: Vocalist Aruna Sairam talks to rasikas at an interactive programme organised by the Global Carnatic Music Association in Chennai on Tuesday.

Kannal Achuthan

Rasikas enjoy an hour-long interaction with the vocalist

CHENNAI: Music lovers had the luxury of an hour-long interaction with vocalist Aruna Sairam at a ‘Coffee with a Carnatic celebrity’ programme here on Tuesday.

Sipping ‘Kumbakonam degree coffee’ and munching samosas, the rasikas raised some candid questions: When did you start learning music? Are purists offended when you introduce new elements into a classical concert? Are your children also into music? Do you eat ice-cream?

A personal take

Ms. Sairam’s answers were peppered with personal experiences. She said she was only about five years when she started learning music “informally” from her mother. “I started training under my guru T. Brinda when I was 10,” she said.

Exploring styles

The vocalist said she liked to explore different styles. “It is because of my puritanical upbringing that I am able to do so. With time, people have accepted me,” she said.

Questions from children and young people in the audience received her priority. She said she gave up eating ice-cream long ago.

Asked about her daughters, she said they were very interested in music, but did not sing professionally.

Speaking on her popular rendition of abhangs, she said she had grown up listening to them during her days in Mumbai, where she was home-tutored on the form. Ms. Sairam said she was interested in playback singing but only if the song brimmed with ‘bhakthi rasa’.

She also shared interesting anecdotes from her career. “When I first performed for a French audience, I chose lighter ragas such as Mohanam. But in a performance I gave later, I sang the raga Thodi.

One listener came up to me and said, ‘There’s something about this raga that’s very powerful. It has been pickled over a long time by maestros.’”

The programme was organised by the Global Carnatic Music Association. The artists who will interact with rasikas from December 26 to 31 are Ganesh and Kumaresh, E. Gayathri, S. Sowmya, Sudha Raghunathan, Neyveli Santhanagopalan and Malladi Brothers respectively.

The event will begin at 3.45 p.m. everyday at Sangeetha Hotel in R.A. Puram and seating is on a first-come-first-served basis.

For details, call 42124130.

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