Regardless of by no means having lived in Chennai, violinist Charulatha Ramanujam has made a definite identify for herself amongst famous Carnatic musicians. Says senior vocalist S. Sowmya , “Exemplary musicianship aside, Charulatha can also be soft-spoken and cheerful. I’d have needed to totally neglect about presenting Ghanta on stage at The Music Academy had she mentioned she couldn’t play.”
Properly-known vocalist N. Vijay Siva says, “Together with her full involvement with the music on stage, she helps the principle artiste ship with pure ease, sending a constructive sign ‘I’m with you.’
From the late maestro Sripada Pinakapani to at this time’s most interesting, Charulatha has accompanied a galaxy of musicians.
Charulatha grew up in Tirupati in a big joint household the place music was ever current. At house, her grandmother would typically sing with Charulatha’s aunt accompanying her on the violin. Charulatha’s father Okay. Rangaswamy was a self-taught singer in a mode harking back to Dr. S. Ramanathan. “Appa had gleaned loads on the music and kutcheri paddhathi by attending dwell live shows,” says Charulatha.
Charulatha started studying the violin on the age of seven from Pudukottai Ramanathan, a scholar of Kumbakonam Rajamanickam Pillai, and was beneath his tutelage for 12 years. She would get up at 3 a.m. day by day and observe for 3-4 hours. She did her B.A. in English Literature, was married quickly after, and moved to Bengaluru. There, she took classes from her husband’s instructor, Anoor S. Ramakrishna.
Charulatha had hardly been to any dwell live shows till she started performing herself. In Bengaluru, she received entry to a big assortment of yesteryear recordings. She started taking part in alongside these for observe, the house changing into her live performance corridor. She realized loads each when it comes to musicality and accompaniment. “When somebody sings nicely, I take pleasure in soaking in that music and being in that second for just a bit whereas longer.”
A yr later, the couple moved to Hubli. Charulatha started taking part in on the native sabha for artistes visiting from Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Kerala, together with Rajkumar Bharathi, T.R. Subramaniam, Rudrapatnam Brothers and Hyderabad Sisters. Many of those artistes then began calling her for live shows in Chennai and different cities. Hubli being extra attuned to Hindustani music, she started studying its rudiments from Shripati Padigar, a direct disciple of Pt. Bhimsen Joshi. She gives sangat for some native artistes. “It made me extra conscious of sruti suddham and sowkhyam.”
After Anoor Ramakrishna’s passing, Charulatha got here beneath the tutelage of veteran R.Okay. Srikantan. “His was impeccable patantaram. His notation had each minute aspect inside it.” As she didn’t have a violin information after Pudukottai Ramanathan, she additionally labored on adapting her taking part in approach for the assorted types of music she heard. “I experimented with every finger to see what produced the very best impact.”
She ponders over the which means of each kriti, taking pains to seek out the which means of unknown phrases. “I believe the sahitya helps in our personal upliftment. To me, it’s a prayer.” Guru Neela Ramgopal, who guides Charulatha at present, says, “Charulatha’s data of Telugu, Sanskrit and Kannada helps her play faithfully to the lyrics. I seek the advice of her on the Telugu script.”
Charulatha has given vocal performances too — not formally educated, it was an natural extension. Bangalore S. Shankar, whom she has accompanied for years, says, “Being a great vocalist herself, she is aware of the necessities of a vocalist. She doesn’t overdo or overshadow the principle artiste or demand to boost the quantity of the microphone.”
Charulatha’s accompanying etiquette consists of persistence initially of an alapana. “Many ragas have related phrases. I favor to attend a bit, maybe on the shadjam, to permit the artiste to gather his/ her ideas.” Neela Ramgopal says, “Many violinists full the vocalist’s phrases, Charulatha is not going to. She is an unobtrusive accompanist.”
Charulatha had performed for the late Suguna Purushothaman on many events. In 2007, Suguna requested Charulatha to accompany her at The Music Academy for a Pallavi within the 128 aksharam simhanandana talam. Requested about her preparation, Charulatha says, “She gave me a CD. With no person to offer talam throughout observe, I realised that by paying attention to the phrases, their melody, the spacing and the variety of aksharams per phrase, I might play it.” She has since accompanied different singers for a number of difficult pallavis.
Charulatha teaches vocal music and the violin however seems to be at herself as a perennial scholar.
The writer writes on classical music and upcoming musicians.