Rising Star: Sujith Naik experiments new techniques to improve his skill

He is working towards establishing himself as a solo artiste

Updated - January 04, 2019 03:16 pm IST

Published - December 27, 2018 03:18 pm IST

Sujith S Naik, a promising Carnatic flautist, hails from Ernakulam and represents the first generation of musicians in his family, along with his elder brother, Sumith Naik, a Hindustani tabla player.

Sujith was first introduced to the flute by his cousins, and his first instrument was a five-rupee flute that his father P. Sudhakara Naik bought him. At the age of four, he started training under O.K. Subramaniam — a nagaswaram artiste — from whom he learnt the basics of vocal music and flute, for around 11 years.

Sujith’s arangetram was at Kochi, when he was nine years old, which was a major confidence booster for him. From then, his musical journey took an interesting turn. Seeing his brother play the tabla, Sujith decided to take up mridangam classes under A. Balakrishna Kamath. He also learnt from veteran vocalist N.P. Ramaswamy, since he felt it would help him appreciate the nuances more.

After his 10th standard, Sujith came to Chennai to learn mridangam under Tiruvarur Bhaktavatsalam, who advised him to finish his education at the Kalakshetra Foundation. He did his 11th and 12th grade there in the fine arts stream. Since Sujith was more confident in playing the flute than the mridangam, Tiruvarur Bhaktavatsalam recommended him to maestro N. Ramani, who then became his guru. He considers the first concert where he shared the stage with his guru, Tiruvarur Bhaktavatsalam, as his most memorable one.

Sujith has completed his diploma from Kalakshetra Foundation, and has also done his M.A. from Madras University. He is now a graded artiste of All India Radio, and has won several awards for vocal music and flute. He has since accompanied various vocalists and dancers (such as Leela Samson) and has given solo performances. He has performed with European guitarist Ueli Gasser as well. Sujith constantly experiments new techniques and discusses ideas with his gurus to improve himself and to overcome the limitations of the flute.

Sujith agrees that there is a lot of talent among the younger artistes. He feels that the quality of playing the flute by the youngsters is more important than the number of up and coming flautists. When it comes to training, apart from the regular exercises related to breath-control that one learns from the guru, practice is essential, says Sujith. The way someone practises will reflect in the way they hold the instrument and in the way they play the notes.

Nothing can motivate a person more than his/her love for the instrument, says Sujith. “A person must first learn to listen and then listen to learn” is his way of looking at Carnatic music.

Sujith is now a full-time musician. He currently learns flute from T. Shashidhar and vocal from Vidwan A.S. Murali. He has immense respect for all his gurus and believes that he will always be a student, since “the art is greater than all the artistes”.

Sujith is performing this music season at various sabhas such as the Music Academy and Narada Gana Sabha, where he will play as an accompanist to vocal artistes and Bharatanatyam performers. He is putting his best efforts to establish himself as a soloist of repute.

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