Raga series: Singapore vocalists Lavanya Balachandran and Shruti Anand bring melodies from yesteryears with Kaatrinile

Lecturer at the National University of Singapore (NUS) Lavanya Balachandran and a practitioner of Carnatic music for over 30 years is all praises for “RKB Sir” the name South Indian classical music stalwart Dr Rajkumar Bharathi is called by his followers and mentees. 

Shruti Anand, her co-mentee adds how Dr Rajkumar Bharathi made them view concerts in a totally different point of view, that of the audiences.   

As part of the Esplanade Raga Series, the Singapore-based Carnatic vocalists are set to present compositions performed and popularised in the Tamil films of yesteryear. 

Fresh from their learning experiences with Dr Bharathi as part of the Raga Carnatic Music Mentorship programme, the duo is all set to apply what they learned. 

“For both of us, the dilemma was to adapt cinema music within the classic Carnatic framework and repertoire. Though the film songs are based on the primary ragas, the way it has been approached in the film is a little lighter than typically rendered in a classical Carnatic concert. What is the extent of creativity we can apply when we approach these songs? We learnt a lot in our engagement with RKB sir, when we were thinking about these issues,” Lavanya told Connected to India.

“One of the other things we learned was how we can structure a concert, “ Shruti added. “We had chosen a set of songs and then RKB sir came up and said ‘think from an audience perspective. Do you think this song or raga will appeal or something else?’ This kind of thinking process was one of the really big highlights of the mentorship for me.”

‘Kaatrinile – Tamil Silverscreen Melodies of Yesteryears’ will be performed at the Esplanade Recital Studio on September 24.

The duo will be joined by T Ramanan on the mridangam, Nellai N Ravindran on the violin, Lazar T Sebastine on the keyboards and Kumaran Sinniah on the tabla for their performance.

Click here for event details and tickets.