Carnatic Music Singing Sensation Shruti and Sahana to perform at Wandering Artist at RA Puram Chennai on December 22, 2018

Muscat Sisters Shruti and Sahana to perform Carnatic Music Concert at Wandering Artist in RA Puram, Chennai on December 22, 2018

Sounds of The Nation by Carnatic Singing duo Shruti and Sahana at Wandering Artist, RA Puram Chennai on December 22, 2018

Born in Muscat, known as Muscat Sisters, but not the Three Musketeers, these twin sisters were practically listening and learning music, while they were in their mother’s womb, as their father’s car music player played nothing else, but, Carnatic music.

Sounds of The Nation by Carnatic Singing duo Shruti and Sahana at Wandering Artist, RA Puram Chennai on December 22, 2018

Initiated into Carnatic music at the tender age of six under the tutelage of Sudha Raghunathan of Muscat, who is a post graduate in music and obtained her M.Phil on comparison and analytical study of GN Balasubramanian’s compositions, by the University of Madras. Sudha Raghunathan’s musical skills were honed by Late Calcutta Krishnamurthy, who was an acclaimed Guru. Sudha Teacher, as the siblings fondly called their Guru, taught them to sing Sahana with Shruti!

The siblings were indeed blessed to have learnt music from many other mentors as well. Ramtek, Avinash Mathur, Meenakshi...the list is endless. These mentors had taught the girls the finer nuances and complexities of rendering bhajans and encouraged them to sing on stage regularly in Rag Darshan monthly programme for music students.

Also, Sahana and Shruti had their Guru in Manju, who was a very close family friend. Whenever she found time, Manju used to teach the sisters wonderful Carnatic kritis. In addition to that, Chaitrra and Krithika, senior disciples of Carnatic vocalist, Bombay Jayashri too taught the sisters the finer nuances of various Carnatic ragas and kritis.

Sounds of The Nation by Carnatic Singing duo Shruti and Sahana at Wandering Artist, RA Puram Chennai on December 22, 2018

When Sudha Raghunathan relocated from Muscat to Chennai, Sruthi and Sahana had the good fortune of meeting Bombay Jayashri and the started setting another arduous journey in the realms of Carnatic music. When the girls rendered Jayashri’s Bahudari Kriti, “Brova Bharama, the latter was so impressed with Shruti and Sahana and she asked them to relocate to Chennai from Muscat and pursue rigorous training of Carnatic music from her.

It was not just music with Bombay Jayashri, the Carnatic exponent started taking them with her regular walks to the Thiruvanmayur beach in Adyar, Chennai. Bombay Jayashri even took the singing sisters to Yoga classes in addition to teaching them Tamil. Both Shruti and Sahana were taken through the journey the way Jayashri’s Guru late, Lalgudi G Jayaraman taught all his disciples by making them render Tiruppugazh, Tiruppavai, Utsava Sampradaya Kritis and more initially and eventually hand held them into the finer nuances of the Carnatic music.

Carnatic Singing duo Shruti and Sahana with Legendary singer Yaani.

What is more, the girls were also fortunate to closely interact with all the senior disciples of Bombay Jayashri. While all her disciples used to address her as Akka (elder sister), they were the generation next among Bombay Jayashri’s students, the first to call her J’Amma (shorter version of Jayashri Amma).

Back in Chennai, Shruti and Sahana joined Hindu Senior Secondary School in Adyar and they were part of the school music team and were regulars in all the inter-school competitions. In fact, their school is renowned for Bhajan singing. Even now the school churns out great talents in Bhajan singing. Uma Balasubramaniam, the music teacher of the school is primarily responsible for encouraging budding singing talents and coaching them to perfection. Like many a talents, the siblings too were guided in Sampradaya Bhagan by their Guru. Soon, Shruti and Sahana began taking part in Inter-School competitions in Chennai, gradually at the state level competitions and eventually at the national level competitions and became part of the team that brought laurels to the school.

Currently, the duo are learning music from Guru AS Murali, Senior disciple of Sangeetha Kala Acharya Padma Bhushan PS Narayanaswami. An A grade artiste of All India Radio in vocal music and Ghatam, Murali had learned the percussion from maestro late TV Vasan. An artiste, who is steeped in tradition and a staunch believer of Manodharma, Murali is guiding the sisters on the finer nuances Carnatic music rendition. A passionate teacher, Murali pushes Shruti and Sahana to the into many stages, both big and small, which is his way of removing inhibition in them. The singing sisters were really fortunate to have guidance from so many experienced and established artistes, who have inspired them in many was not only in terms learning the intricate nuances of music from these gurus, but in terms of emulating the does and don’ts in life.

Shruti and Sahana, when asked as to what was the most touching moment in their lives, had this to say, “We were delighted when we got an opportunity to render in front of late DK Pattammal.” When she heard the sisters render, Nidhi Chaala Sukama, Pattammaal, who was then in her ’90s had said, “I can’t hear anymore. Nevertheless, I am able to hear the music. You both rendered well. Learn well, work hard and you should come up in life…my blessings to you children.”

Also, sometime back, Shruti and Sahana rendered the Carnatic music composition, Ninne Nera in the presence of PS Narayanaswamy, who was really impressed with the rendition style of the siblings and said, “Great voice quality. Nice diction too. If you both practice well, you will certainly make it big in your musical career.”

At a time, when most of the Indian parents aspire their children to become doctors and engineers, the twin sisters’ parents were game with their children’s passion for singing and music. In fact, the parents gave Shruti and Sahana free hand to charter their career path and also the choice of education to them. The twins pursued Bachelor Degree in Electronic Media from MOP Vaishnav College for Women, Chennai. With the aim of furthering their knowledge in music technology and business space, Shruti and Sahana embarked upon pursuing the Masters in Music Technology and Innovation and Global Entertainment and Music Business with the world renowned Berklee
College of Music in Valencia, Spain. Again, the siblings were fortunate wherein they were taught by the Grammy winners of that time and further the sisters were able to interact with global musicians and further explore the creative side of music.

After obtaining the Masters Degree from Berklee, Shruti and Sahana pursued Fellowship in the same institution, wherein they did creative and research work on the Nottuswarams composed by the notable of the music trinity of Carnatic Music, Muthuswami Deekshithar. The great musician, who composed these Nottuswarams when he was inspired by the Irish Music of the British Army Band of the British East India Company at Fort Saint George in the then Madras (now Chennai), circa 1790.

Shruti and Sahana did the arrangement, recording, mixing and mastering of the Project titled “The Celnatic Experience”, which was released last year at Chennai December Music festival.

Shruti and Sahana, collaborating with Global musicians documented these kritis, notated them in western staff notations, arranged and recorded them at the Ann Kreiss Studios of Berklee in Valencia Spain, and have brought out a creatively curated book for kids and a coffee table book and music. They did the arrangement, recording, mixing and mastering of the Project titled “The Celnatic Experience”. This was released last year at Chennai December Music festival. They have also been conducting Masterclasses of Nottuswarams to children aged 6-16 highlighting the evolution and history of the music and teaching select compositions. Masterclasses have been done
in Spain, Muscat, and in Chennai.

Furthermore, the twins were exploring many projects in Berklee, notable of them include the background music and song for a National Geographic project titled Machli; performance as part of Berklee ensemble, compositions and collaboration with fellow students. They were involved with Anahad, a not-for-profit organisation in the documentation and archival project of the folk Musicians, Manganiyars from Rajasthan. They recently composed theme music for a Yoga Institute Vyaniti and lent their voices too for the same at their own Studio in heart of Kollywood Saligramam, Chennai.

The gifted siblings have been performing concerts in Chennai, Guruvayur, Muscat, Viralimalai, Karaikudi, Ernakulam, Guruvauyur, Rameswaram, Vaikom, Chettikulangara, and other Kerala Temples. They have performed in the Chennai December season in Brahma Gana Sabha Trust concerts and Papanasam Sivan Arts Academy and Chennayil Tiruvayaru. Going forward, Shruti and Sahana will be performing multi-lingual folk and popular songs from around the country on December 22, 2018 at Wandering Artists at Chennai.

With their exposure to world music and current developments in technology and music, the beautiful sisters intend facilitation of percolation of best practices in the Global Music industry into India. To accomplish this they have started tiny steps in this direction. With their organisation, IMuze, the sisters are in the process of weaving the music fraternity into one fabric using the power of Internet and technology, provide tools, services and facilities to facilitate global reach.

Accolades

The gifted siblings personally don’t believe in competitions. However, they have been consistent prize winners in most of the competitions they had taken part in Muscat. The adorable sisters used to win prizes in most of the Indian Social Club Music competitions, and also the Indian Social Club Kerala Wing’s annual Keralotsavam celebrations music competitions. Notable among them was the winning of the first prize in the open category when they were only nine years, adjudged winners by
acclaimed music director Jatin Pandit of Jatin Lalit duo. In fact, Jatin was all praise for the singing sensations. Apart from that, Shruti and Sahana used to be regular performers in the school music forum Rag Darshan. As part of their school they have won prizes in various Bhajan competitions of Chennai, like the prestigious Bhaktaswara, Tambras and more. They also won the first prize in the Sanskrit songs category in the All India Schools Bhajan competition in the Sanskrit songs category.
They were also regular members of the music troupe “Symphony” in Muscat. The siblings also won the prize in the Utsava Samapradaya Kriti category in the Indian Fine Arts Society’s annual competitions. They have also been featured in Jaya TV, Zee TV, Mega TV, Vijay TV and Astha TV programmes, and rendered songs in two albums composed by their teacher, Uma Balasubaramaniam, in aid of the physically challenged for Kalanjiyam Trust, Chennai. Last, but, certainly not the least, the pair had also been included in the archival projects of Navaratri kritis and Navavarnam Kritis by Bombay Jayashree. Team The Indian.News wish Shruti and Sahana well for their multi-lingual folk and popular songs from across the country show on December 22, 2018 at Wandering Artists in Chennai.