Chennai and Tamil Nadu
We owe it to Radha-Jayalakshmi
More than titles and awards we value the comments from rasikas.
Shanmukhapriya and Haripriya, popularly known as the Priya sisters, hail from Chittoor, Andhra Pradesh. Concerts of the duo are looked forward to, for they have carved a niche for themselves in rendering Telugu kritis with their impeccable diction and pronunciation. The sisters speak…
Our father, Subbaram, is a post-graduate in music. He learnt vocal music from Vaidyalinga Bhagavathar, son of Muthiah Bhagavathar. In addition he learnt from others too. Simultaneously he taught many students and we were among them. Mother was an excellent singer too. She specialised in bhajans and ghazals although she had no formal training. Hence it was a musical atmosphere that contributed to our evincing keen interest in classical music. All this was at Chittoor where we did our basic schooling. In order to nurture our musical talent, father shifted base to Chennai. He was a great fan of GNB and Radha-Jayalakshmi and hence wanted us to be trained by the duo.
Our father persuaded them to teach us and succeeded in his attempt. They both are genius, patient and affectionate. They put us on the right track.
We had just stepped into high school and the sisters’ briga-oriented music of theirs was very new to us. We are lucky to have been trained by them. They always said that the singing should be so clear that the listener should be able to notate the entire kriti. We learnt many nuances and subtleties of music during our five-year tenure under them. Whatever we are today we owe it to them.
Around 1989 we started performing in temples. M.O.Srinivasan launched us in a proper fashion. But our major breakthrough came when T.V.K.Shastry of the Madras Telugu Academy gave us an opportunity to perform in Delhi. It was telecast in the national network. Impressed by our style, concert offers started trickling in.
The growth has been steady since then. We had to really work hard to keep pace. Improving our repertoire was a major project and learning, a continuous process. Hence we joined Professor T.R.Subramanyam.
Training under him…
He is a very simple person with abundant knowledge of music. He virtually breathes music. We learn pallavis and kritis from him. He is an encyclopaedia. With all these he is an open minded person and a great human being.
Haripriya: I was trained by Subba Raju in playing classical music on the guitar. Later when I started singing with Shanmukhapriya, I gave up serious pursuit of guitar. But I do strum a piece now and then when I feel like it. I have also represented Tamil Nadu State under -15 cricket team, but did not pursue cricket further for the sake of a career in music.
Isai Peroli from Kartik Fine Arts, Yugadi Puraskar from the Madras Telugu Academy, Nadha Bhushanam from Delhi Shanmukhananda and an award for excellence from a Rotary club here in Chennai are some of the titles and awards we have received. More than these we value the comments from rasikas. You derive soul satisfaction, when people walk up to you after a concert and say that they liked a particular song or got into a trance during a kriti.
We have been regularly singing at Prasanthi Nilyam, Puttaparthi, in the presence of Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Each time, the experience has been different. Once he asked us to sing Tyagaraja’s ‘Endaro Mahanubhavulu.’ Normally we keep jotted notes of the beginning of all the charanams lest we should jumble up the order during concerts. That day we did not have it, yet the sequence was perfect! That is Divine Grace. After we had completed our concert, he walked up to us, and asked us to sing one more song. It was ‘Bhavayami Raghuramam’ followed by ‘Nee Dayarada.’ The gifts that He showers on us every time we perform are our most prized possessions.
Performing is different from teaching. Teaching music needs a lot of commitment. It is also a strain on the voice. As of now teaching is not on the cards.
Send this article to Friends by
Chennai and Tamil Nadu