Fusion is the forte of this music couple

Anuradha Sriram. Photo: R. Ashok  

"A singer is said to be successful only when people start identifying the face with the song"

Her resounding success of all her 1000-plus concerts carries uniqueness. She can slide on octaves, which many singers can only yearn for. For Anuradha Sriram, her foray into films, has not affected her innovations in her jugalbandhi concerts she performs along with her musician-husband, Sriram Parasuram.

Every time she conceptualises the concerts along with her husband, the duo makes sure to present different format yet maintain integrity of the systems. At the time when Carnatic concerts ruled Chennai at every December music season, the duo demonstrated the knack of combining two different school of music in an audience-friendly way.

Anuradha Sriram shares her views on different schools of music during an interview to S. Aishwarya.

The singer is all praise for "accommodative" south Indians. "They love and believe in acquiring new skills. This is the reason why other schools of music are flourishing in Chennai," she says.

This firm believer in purity of music doesn't, however, agree that understanding the song structure is mandatory for audience.

"If the music is pleasing to the ear and pure, you could grip audience throughout your concert; no matter what you sing."

Parasuram's strong Hindustani base has helped her evolve a liking for both Carnatic and Hindustani. At `jugalbandhi,' fusion concerts of different schools of music, the duo handles both schools of ragas fusing the resonance, but without mixing up the styles.

A Master in music from Wesleyan University, US, Anuradha adores Indian forms of music, especially folk, for its historical significance and versatility.

Parallel forms

While folk, she says is intertwined with culture, the age-old `harikatha' in South and `Abang' in North are parallel forms of music, which infuses messages. They only lend themselves in different ways to suit audience's taste. "It's here I've learnt that the origin of music is not important. Music is like a river flowing through different region. Culture shapes music in different way. Nevertheless, the core value in it remains the same."

Her lilting voice was cultured by numerous exposures to all kinds of music and systematic classes for classical music right from childhood.

Speak of music, Anuradha turns philosophical and explains the ennobling value of music: "Music is divine. It gives glimpses of divine ecstasy and happiness that springs out of nothing. Only a refined music can spell the magic of notes that create a blissful auditory feel," she says.

In success, Anuradha is humility personified. Be it about the increasing digital modulation of songs or mushrooming singers in film industry, she answers all with a shrug. "When you have the essence of music, you will have your share of song. A singer is said to be successful only when people start identifying the face with the song."

Having learnt music lessons from legendary musicians, Anuradha feels classical learning is obligatory before one's entry into light music. "People celebrate mediocrity. Singers are forced to become overnight celebrities with media hype. At least, learning carnatic music helps to be aware you are nowhere when compared to maestros of classical music who never vied for publicity."

Though her husband handles music classes for few students, Anuradha prefers to stay a learner for a while. "Music needs constant pursuit. I've not excelled in it. Nobody ever can," she signs off.