Prepare for a musical storm in New Plymouth

Sudha Raghunathan to perform at WOMAD on March 17

Venkat Raman

One of the most popular Carnatic Music vocalists of India will perform at the World of Music, Art and Dance (Womad) Festival this weekend.

Sudha Raghunathan, who has impressed Carnatic Music stalwarts and enthusiasts alike, will present her Concert at the Festival at the TSB Bowl of Brooklands in New Plymouth on Friday, March 17 at 715 pm.

For further information and tickets, please visit

New Zealanders would remember her superb performance at the concert organised by Rasikas New Zealand in Auckland on March 18, 2012.

The prolific singer, who has attained fame for her innate ability to interpret and render a variety of ragas and songs, will be a highlight at the forthcoming Festival.

Singing Cuckoo

Born, raised and educated in Bangalore, Ms Raghunathan evinced interest in Carnatic music at an early age, recognising which her mother Choodamani encouraged her talent. She was trained under the careful guidance of Vidwan B V Lakshman.

A concern for perfection, inexplicable devotion to music and the passion to learn the nuances of the art are factors that have made Mrs Raghunathan a singer of distinction. She has been described as the ‘Radiance of Music,’ ‘Jewel of Music’ and the ‘Singing Cuckoo.’

Worthy successor

According to a recitation, “Ms Raghunathan’s voice of gold enthralls listeners from all over the globe. There is tantalising mystery behind that cherubic smile. Her deep relish for tradition and mystical old-world charm is supremely addictive.”

She is considered as the worthy successor to the late Dr M L Vasanthakumari (MLV), one of the stalwarts of Carnatic music, for who she rendered vocal support for a number of years.

“Apart from music, MLV taught me how to live life to its fullest.”

She recalled a concert at which MLV was rendering an Ashtapathi in Raga Malika.

“The song has a sangathi in Yaman Kalyani at a higher octave. Spontaneously, MLV stopped and allowed me to take over. She was such a generous person on stage in some sense it also reflected how she was in life as well,” Ms Raghunathan said.

Her authentic renditions of ‘krithis’ and refined elaborations of ‘ragas’, the élan with which she breezes through the ‘kalpana swaras’, her command over the octaves and her supremely confident stage presence combined with unstated humility has given her an enviable pre-eminence in the world of Carnatic music.

“I am happy that many young men and women are keen to learn this ancient form of South Indian fine arts and perform at national and international events. Carnatic music will continue to thrive and attract people to its fold,” she said, speaking to Indian Newslink during an earlier interview.

She said that large corporates, small and medium-sized companies, cultural and arts associations and organisations have been showing interest in sponsoring and funding Carnatic music programmes.

“I am optimistic about the future of Carnatic music. There is little doubt that it will flourish in the years to come. I am delighted to note that countries such as New Zealand have music academies and schools to promote Indian classical music,” Ms Raghunathan said.

She however has not had time to establish a school of music and teach the art to aspirants, mainly because of her constant commitments to sing at various concerts in India and overseas.

Photo: Sudha Raghunathan

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