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Life is a beautiful song

R. MEENAKSHI

Gayathri Girish talks about what is music to her ears.



Motivated Gayathri Girish

Vocalist Gayathri Girish was recently in the Capital to perform at the Thyagaraja Music Festival organised by Sree Shanmukhananda Sangeetha Sabha. A disciple of Vidwan Vaigai S. Gyanaskandan in her early days and later of Madurai T.N. Seshagopalan, Gayathri has, from her debut in 1986, steadily moved to greater heights, with accolades and awards year after year. Her aesthetic touches, captivating creativity and her interpretative style have positioned her as one of the top singers in Carnatic music.

Gayathri is proud to say that she used to identify ragas when she was three years old. “I had the privilege of learning my basic lessons from my mother when I was six. She is my first guru. My childhood spent at the IIT- Chennai campus is very memorable. I had the opportunity to listen to the great singers who visited the campus. My father’s interest in music not only encouraged my mother to perform but also strengthened my musical foundation and nurtured my interest. Music became my passion right from childhood. I learnt to play the violin from the legend Lalgudi Jayaraman and later from Smt. Rukmini, but then concentrated more on singing.”

Gayathri’s ease and self confidence keep her audiences spellbound. Her rendition is marked by a refined approach to every raga, and her attempt to introduce delicate nuances not only leaves a mark but also expands the domain of her creativity.

Gayathri talks about “being satisfied and happy” in her own style. For Gayathri, satisfaction comes from being a good human being, possessing good values, good thoughts and outlook. Besides, she adds, to be able to experience music and appreciate all good music takes the satisfaction level higher still. Gayathri adds that being satisfied is a difficult task in itself and rare to achieve.

Other interests

Like others of her generation, Gayathri does not confine her interests to her profession. Sports, especially cricket, is one of her interests. She appreciates Sunil Gavaskar and Sachin Tendulkar for their down to earth simplicity even after achieving many records. On the recent Oscar feast for India, Gayathri keeps quoting A.R. Rahman and his hit songs in “Roja”, “Lagaan” and others. Being part of a musical family, she takes particular pleasure in Rahman’s achievement.

Gayathri frequently recalls inspiring words of popular personalities and loves reading motivational books. “I find time while travelling and I am fond of collecting them too. Apart from books, I admire the individuals and NGOs who work for underprivileged children.”

When it comes to interacting with her rasikas, she says, “I am fond of replying through my blog after each concert in detail.” A Computer Science postgraduate, she is currently pursuing a PhD in music. “My technical academic IT background complements my music activities, and I am able to make use of it.”

Gayathri is open to innovative and creative ideas related to music — be it Carnatic-Hindustani jugalbandi, thematic concerts, a lecture-demonstration of music and mathematics, or a performance with unconventional accompaniment like the tavil.

Gayathri finds singing in a language known to the audience easily connects them to the essence of the song together with the appreciation of the bhava. For Tamil-speaking audiences this means her concert selection always includes Tamil compositions of Papanasam Sivan, Oothukadu, Bharatiyar and others. In recent times, she has started including devotional compositions like Tevarams, Tiruvachakam and Divya Prabandam.

Having received awards like the Sri Lanka government’s Gaana Ratna, Jan Kalyan’s Sahithya Priya and Gnana Skandan Trust’s Sangeetha Bhaskara among others, Gayathri humbly points out that all this appreciation increases her responsibility as a singer and motivates her to excel in each performance.

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