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 be soft-spoken and cheerful. I’d have needed to completely neglect about presenting Ghanta on stage at The Music Academy had she mentioned she couldn’t play.”
Nicely-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 optimistic sign ‘I’m with you.’
From the late maestro Sripada Pinakapani to right this moment’s best, 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 normally sing with Charulatha’s aunt accompanying her on the violin. Charulatha’s father Ok. Rangaswamy was a self-taught singer in a mode harking back to Dr. S. Ramanathan. “Appa had gleaned rather a lot 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 pupil of Kumbakonam Rajamanickam Pillai, and was below his tutelage for 12 years. She would get up at 3 a.m. every 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 bought entry to a big assortment of yesteryear recordings. She started taking part in alongside these for observe, the house turning into her live performance corridor. She discovered rather a lot each when it comes to musicality and accompaniment. “When somebody sings nicely, I get pleasure from 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 supplies sangat for some native artistes. “It made me extra conscious of sruti suddham and sowkhyam.”
After Anoor Ramakrishna’s passing, Charulatha got here below the tutelage of veteran R.Ok. Srikantan. “His was impeccable patantaram. His notation had each minute side inside it.” As she didn’t have a violin information after Pudukottai Ramanathan, she additionally labored on adapting her taking part in method for the varied kinds of music she heard. “I experimented with every finger to see what produced the absolute best impact.”
She ponders over the that means of each kriti, taking pains to search out the that means of unknown phrases. “I feel the sahitya helps in our personal upliftment. To me, it’s a prayer.” Guru Neela Ramgopal, who guides Charulatha at the moment, says, “Charulatha’s information 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 skilled, 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 lift the amount of the microphone.”
Charulatha’s accompanying etiquette contains persistence at the beginning of an alapana. “Many ragas have related phrases. I want 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 won’t. 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 provide talam throughout observe, I realised that by taking note of the phrases, their melody, the spacing and the variety of aksharams per phrase, I may play it.” She has since accompanied different singers for a number of difficult pallavis.
Charulatha teaches vocal music and the violin however appears to be like at herself as a perennial pupil.
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