Keerthana G Bharadwaj (Raagni): “Amidst my learning music, I continued my passion of learning dance like Ekalavya from my school teachers”
Keerthana G Bharadwaj (Raagni) passionate about music and dance
B Grade All India Radio Artist in Light Classical Music (2018), Scholarship Awardee from Karnataka Sangeetha Nruthya Academy for Light Music 2018, having performed on
a special occasion of Bharath Rathna Dr MS Subbalakshmi Birth Centenary organised by the Ministry of Culture, Government of India, the Bangalore-based talented vocalist, Keerthana G Bharadwaj, also known as Raagni, is a multi-facted personality. A graduate of commerce, Keerthana G Bharadwaj (Raagni) is currently working as a Senior Financial Analyst in an International Bank, while pursuing her music as well.
Keerthana G Bharadwaj (Raagni) began learning Sugama Sangeetha or Light Music under the tutelage of Gayathri Keshav at the age of eight in the music school, Panchamrutha Sugama Sangeetha Shale. In addition to that, Keerthana G Bharadwaj (Raagni) also began learning Carnatic Classical vocals from age ten under the guidance of Shreemathi Shantha Narasimhan and learned semi-classical songs from Kumari Usha. Also, the talented artist learned nuances of music from Vidushi Indira Krishna under whose supervision, Keerthana G Bharadwaj (Raagni) completed her Carnatic Junior Grade of Music from Karnataka Secondary Education Examination Board in 2007 and came out inflying colours with a distinction grade. Not content with that, Keerthana G Bharadwaj (Raagni) also finished her Senior Grade Classical Music under Indira Krishna. At
present, she is continuing further proficiency music practice under Vidushi Vijayalakshmi.
Born in July 16, 1994 in an orthodox Brahmin family, where music was the way of life sans any specific genre. But being a child, Keerthana G Bharadwaj (Raagni) found love for dance. “Even now my mother tells that when Yakshagana would appear on Doordharshan Chandana, I would stand in front of the television set and try imitating the artists by practicing the steps and balancing while taking circles”, says Keerthana G Bharadwaj (Raagni) with a chuckle.
With a tinge of disappointment, Keerthana G Bharadwaj (Raagni) laments, “Later, my parents, somehow for their own reasons, decided not to send me to the dance class and in turn put me into music class at the age of nine. I just began my first music training in light music from Shreemathi Gayathri Keshav and that helped me to gain stage confidence. I began taking part in many competitions. Being part of yearly and quarterly music festivals and summer classes of Panchamrutha Sugama Sangeetha Shale helped me in broadening my knowledge of light music, although I was still a rookie in terms of comprehending the complexities and pure technicalities of music. Nevertheless, I enjoyed each and every moment associated with music”, Keerthana G Bharadwaj (Raagni) said.
Keerthana G Bharadwaj (Raagni) says, “Although, I continued learning music, I also continued to nourish the dream of learning dance. Like Ekalavya, I learned the dance from my school teachers and used to do consistent role of Bala Krishna, Akkamahadevi and other mythological characters each academic year and won prizes in both dance and music. I also used to be one of the lead singers in annual programmes, which gave me insight as to how to broaden my horizons in the realms of music”, Keerthana G Bharadwaj (Raagni) said.
Keerthana G Bharadwaj (Raagni) continued her music classes with various teachers in light music and Carnatic music as well under the able guidance of BK Sumithra. Her first Guru, Vidhushi Shantha Narasimhan, who taught her the basics of Carnatic music. As the family had to relocate the residence in various locations of Bangalore, Keerthana G Bharadwaj (Raagni) had to leave one guru and seek guidance of another. However, one Guru Keerthana G Bharadwaj (Raagni) holds in high esteem and taught her all the nuances of music was Indira Krishna, who showered her pure love and knowledge. Keerthana G Bharadwaj (Raagni) attributes whatever success she has achieved so
far to Vidhushi Indira Krishna. Also Vidhushi Indira Krishna became the first person to see my teaching capabilities and insisted me to teach several others thus expanding my music knowledge and passing on to next generation, Keerthana G Bharadwaj (Raagni) points out. It was due to her encouragement, I established Aradhana Sangeetha Shale and gained confidence in teaching the younger ones the nuances of music”, Keerthana G Bharadwaj (Raagni) said.
Keerthana G Bharadwaj (Raagni) also took part in several musical reality shows. “It was a great experience to be the youngest participant in a musical reality competition, Star Singer amongst many other participants, who were much older to me. This gave me a wonderful opportunity to meet stalwarts in music such as music composer Gurukiran and singers such as Jai Ho fame Vijayaprakash and Shubha Malgudi. I gained world of knowledge by interacting with them in terms of the nuances of playback singing”, Keerthana G Bharadwaj (Raagni) says.
Also Srimathi Gayathri Keshav gave Keerthana G Bharadwaj (Raagni) the first opportunity to try voice over/dubbing for a Vishnuvardhan starer Kannada film. This gave me humongous confidence to lend my voice for another Kannada movie”, Keerthana G Bharadwaj (Raagni) said. While speaking about her first playback singing experience, Keerthana G Bharadwaj (Raagni) said, “Doing my first playback singing for a devotional album from Mayathere Combines was a great experience indeed. This gave me confidence to render a song for a Kannada drama authored by Chandrasekhar Kambar. My gratitude to the young and talented music composer Karthik Sharma for giving me this opportunity.”
MS Subbalakshmi’s centenary programme organised by Ministry of culture , Government of India.
Currently, Keerthana G Bharadwaj (Raagni) is practicing Carnatic music under Vidushi Vijayalakshmi, who is a gold medalist in MA Music. About her achievements, Keerthana G Bharadwaj (Raagni) says, “I became B Grade artist in AIR under light Carnatic Music in 2018 in addition to receiving scholorship award from Karnataka Cultural Department for light music performance. I should express my gratitude to my old friend, Vidwan Sharat Rao for the guidance.”
Multi-tasking has become Keerthana G Bharadwaj (Raagni)’s way of life. “Amidst all these happenings, my studies continued and I ended up graduating in commerce and immediately after that I got into the corporate world. I joined an International Bank as a Financial Analyst. Now I have more responsibilities as a Senior Analyst.
With the demanding professional environment, it is a big challenge to pursue my passion as well. It used to be tad bit cumbersome for me to handle both professional pursuits as well as music. It was extremely difficult, especially, when I had to work according to the US shifts. Somehow, my overriding passion for music got me going by doing multiple things in tandem. I still remember me having five days of work, when I used to yearn for those two days over the weekend and that is when I get the opportunity to meet my lovely students, interact with them and impart knowledge to these young ones. These kids are my world and they are like my own kids. I am lucky to get such wonderful children who are determined to learn music. Knowing my job pressure, whatever time I suggest, these students come much ahead of time and stay back till I ask them to go. In fact, the weekend classes used to be my stress reliever, energy booster and a source of peace”, Keerthana G Bharadwaj (Raagni) said.
Juggling with my demanding work schedule and music concerts and the weekend classes, my life is really hectic with absolutely no scope of socialising. I am happy this way that I am able to do justice to my profession and passion in addition to imparting whatever I have learnt to the new generation kids as well. It wasn’t easy to do all these things in tandem, thanks to the love, affection and cooperation of my students and the encouragement I get from my Guru, I am able to accomplish all these tasks without pain,”Keerthana G Bharadwaj (Raagni) said.
“Finishing my senior gradation in Classical Music was another major challenge, especially after a gap of ten years. This is another testimony of my determination that despite the gap of a decade, I took up my examination with all seriousness. I had a huge gap of ten years for taking up the examination in-spite of my continued musical learning, unfortunately due to many factors I was not able to sit for the senior grade examination.
With the job pressure increasing by the day with new projects coming up, heading home becoming perennially late. With lack of sleep, rushing to music class, coming back and continuing the practice was a difficult ask. Despite my failing health, I was really determined to pull it through. Today, I feel proud that I had accomplished all that I had aspired for with a great sense of satisfaction. I thank all my mentors who had guided me throughout my journey.”
Keerthana G Bharadwaj (Raagni) also thanks her parents for being with her through the thick and thin. Also her younger sister, Aishwarya G Bharadwaj, who is pursuing her final year graduation. “I am her first Guru. She is passionate about music”, Keerthana G Bharadwaj (Raagni) signs off.