Music

Bridging two genres of music

Sudha Ranjith  

What stands out in Sudha Ranjith’s singing is the consummate ease with which she breezes through a a complex ragam thanam pallavi or a film song. Putting together her years of classical training with her preferences and preferred genres, Sudha has developed a healthy singing technique that incorporates the best of many worlds.

Growing up in a family where music reigned helped Sudha make her choice quite early in life. “I’m a third generation musician. My grandfather Thamarassery Krishnan Bhattathiri was a famous musician and poet who is credited with many kritis. My father, Madhavan Bhattathiri was a teacher by profession but a fairly good musician, while my mother, Savithi Antharjanam was also musically inclined,” says Sudha.

A Physics graduate Sudha did her post-graduation in music and also her B.Ed. Her career took off after she got a chance to sing for ‘Rhythm’, Soorya’s music and dance show. This one-hour, non-stop music and dance show, gave Sudha the opportunity to rub shoulders with many great artistes who often performed on invitation. “I was also part of Soorya’s Sangamam, which took me to many venues across the world. I have also sung Carnatic concerts at the Soorya Festival.”

In between, Sudha took advanced Carnatic lessons from eminent gurus such as Mangad Natesan, Pala C. K. Ramachandran and Suguna Varadachari. Sudha expanded her musical oeuvre learning Hindustani and ghazal singing. “I’m learning Hindustani from Dattatreya who is based in Bangalore. He comes to Kozhikode once in two months. For the last two years I have been singing ghazals. The first major stage performance being singing two ghazals with Umbayi.”

Sudha made her film debut in Shyamaprasad’s Agnisakshi (1999). She sang three songs in this film - ‘Athole eethole kunjaathole...’ a traditional folk song and two songs penned and set to music by Kaithapram Damodaran Namboodiri. Sudha went on to sing in films like Nivedyam and Jubilee.

Settled in Kozhikode, Sudha however, she feels that classical singers in Kozhikode get a raw deal as they often miss out on concert circuits in the rest of Kerala. Without stages to showcase their abilities, they get confined to certain venues and festivals. “More recently I had the fortune to sing ‘Vande maataram...’ before our Prime Minister in Kozhikode. I sang the full version and at the end of it he said that he would have loved to listen to the rendering many more times if only there was time.”

She heads the Kerala chapter of Alaap, an Art Of Living project, that is aimed at reviving and propagating Indian art forms. Sudha has published a book, Karnataka Sangeetha Paadhom.

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Printable version | Feb 26, 2021 7:54:34 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/music/Bridging-two-genres-of-music/article16091680.ece

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