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My life in carnatic music

I have been learning music for about six years now, and I will try to share how it began and how I decided to take a plunge into the sweet world of music. My journey started a long time ago and I am yet to reach my goal. Or will I? What is my goal? Where do I see myself in this vast ocean? Let’s skip all the minor details and jump straight on to where I am now…

So far, I have learned swaravali varsai, upper sthayi varsai, janti varsai, 13 geethas, 3 swarajathis, and am now in my first varnam. Also, simultaneously, I have nearly finished 40 kritis, which is great progress, 7 kritis per year, as well as the initial lessons, which is everything I learned other than the kritis. Out of the kritis I learned, a majority were from Sri Tyagaraja. Not only did singing change my life, it also changed my personality. I have sung at approximately 20 concerts and have learned a lot from them. Firstly, when I started performing, I was in a rush to get of the stage, because I felt really shy. After my first few concerts, I realized that I enjoyed performing and showing people that I can sing. To go even further, Nakul Rao started accompanying me with his mrudangam for almost every concert. After my 10th concert, I also realized that even the audience enjoyed our concerts. Singing changed my perception of performing.

You may ask: How did you start singing? Well, magical determination. Not really magical, but that is just a way of saying that I was devoted to singing. When I was 5 years old, my mother introduced me to carnatic music, in India. I learned carnatic music for a year before I returned. When I came back to U.S, I learned the basics of Sangeetha from Smt. Ranganayaki Srinivasan. Then I started learning from Smt. Sumathy Haran, known to me as “Sumathi Aunty.” I owe all my thanks to Sumathi Aunty, who has given me most of the musical knowledge I know. I have been learning from her for 5 years. She has taught me all the way from Swaravali varsai to varnams. Also, out of the 40 kritis I know, I have learned 35 from her. I also owe my thanks to my parents, who encouraged me to sing. All-in-all, all I have to say is that singing has changed many aspects of my life in a positive way, and I feel that I was born to sing.

Written by Ankith Kumar

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Written by Asha Melkote

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