FRIDAY REVIEW

Music mitigates challenge

RANJANI GOVIND.

TREASURED MOMENT: Jaisankar receives award from Pramod Mahajan.

TREASURED MOMENT: Jaisankar receives award from Pramod Mahajan.  

It was with great curiosity that one entered Raga Sudha Hall, Mylapore, Chennai, where 23-year-old vocalist, Karaikkal Jaisankar, was performing as part of the Naada Inbam September series of concerts recently. The clarity in Jaisankar's voice only seemed to enhance the beauty of the long-phrases of kalpanaswaras in Reetigowla for `Janani Ninnuvina.'

So, what is it that distinguishes this young singer from others? After all, new comers are dime a dozen. Jaisankar is visually impaired. "Only a block-free mind helped me overcome all the hurdles, " he says brimming with confidence. Memory has been Jaisankar's only pad, even to note down the songs. A birth defect, the disability was handled in a normal way in his home-town Karaikkal (he went to regular school without Braille lessons).

When did music enter the picture? "He showed his inclination to music even as he was a seven-year-old," says his mother, who belongs to a family of musicians. The Kalakshetra opened its doors to him and Jaisankar did so well he won the Best Outgoing Student Award.

Says Jaisankar, "Kalakshetra was more of a gurukulam and I owe everything to my tutors, Vairamangalam Lakshminarayanan and now Thiruvengadu A. Jayaraman."

Jaisankar has represented Iyal Isai Naataka Mandram in Tiruchi, Sivakasi and Karur. Right now, he is excited about his concert at the Shanmukhananda Hall, Mumbai.

The most cherished moment in his life? "Receiving a gold medal from Pramod Mahajan," pat comes the reply. "And then I was overwhelmed when Kalakshetra asked me to take up teaching there itself. It's so rewarding," he says.

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