Pic. by K. Pichumani.
SIXTEEN-YEAR-old L. Athira of Tiruvananthapuram is the granddaughter of the well-known musician of Kerala, Kodampalli Gopala Pillai, and daughter of vidwan Kodampalli Krishna Pillai.
Her staple diet, even as a child, was Carnatic music, receiving vocal training from her father in the pure classical style. She has had the benefit of systematic guidance on the violin from gurus B. Sasikumar, Prof. Easwara Varma and Cheravali Sasi, who have honed and shaped her prodigious talent. She is currently a worthy addition to the musical stable of A. Kanyakumari. Athira made her debut on the violin when she was nine years of age. Since then she has hardly ever looked back the result of long assiduous hours of purposeful practice. She has won prizes and awards from many cultural institutions throughout Kerala, but the most prestigious was the National Balasri Award in 2001-2002.
She is also a recipient of the Government of India scholarship for advanced training on the violin. Her art has sound technique, fluency, melody and a creditable control of laya, that reflect her keen hunger to excel in her chosen vocation.
The highnoon of Athira's artistic journey till now has been her marathon non-stop performance for 32 hours in November 2003 for the Soorya Festival at Thiruvananthapuram. This extraordinary feat by a young girl of barely 15 has earned her a place in the Guinness Book of World Records. She is also a gifted composer, with a number of compositions in quite a few languages to her credit. She has been congratulated and blessed by luminaries such as Princess Aswati Tirunal Gowribai, Kerala Governor Sikhandar Bakht, Kerala Chief Minister A. K. Antony, M. Bala-muralikrishna, K.J. Yesudas, M.S. Gopalakrishnan, L. Subramaniam and the leading lights in the playback sphere S. Janaki, P. Leela, P. Susheela, Unni Menon and others.
Daniel Kramer, a Russian musician, is an admirer of Athira's musical capabilities. The Balasri award for which she chose the theme "War and Peace" paved the way for her participation in the International Music Festival in Russia. She was recently felicitated at a function at the Madras Kerala Samaj in Chennai. The music of maestros Lalgudi Jayaraman, M.S. Gopalakrishnan and L. Subramaniam inspire her to improve the quality of her art, says Athira. Her future objectives are to research on music as a therapy, particularly to help the mentally challenged, and also to graduate in English literature. L. Athira is in her 12th Std. at The Hindu Higher School in Chennai. The Madras Kerala Samajam recently felicitated the young artiste.
BY A CORRESPONDENT
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