A singer emerges in Houston Sukanya Balachandran, disciple of Anuradha Subramanian, makes her debut in Houston
Yet another bud blossoms in the Houston area. Sukanya Balachandran presented her debut Karnatak music concert recently.
Kanthi Devi, mother of Dr S Vijai Shanker, founder of Kaivalya Shivalaya Ashram, lit a lamp and the program began with a prayer by Lalitha Balachandran, mother of Sukanya.
Padmini Chari, director of Nrithya School of Dance and the emcee for the evening, said when someone claims to be a dancer or musician, the question always arises who the guru could be. "They say", she remarked, "Tell me who the guru is and I'll judge the caliber of the performer." Teacher Anuradha Subramanian and student Sukanya had developed a longstanding bond.
Sukanya used her innate musical gift to the best of her ability. With a natural flow of swaras and alapana, the concert was definitely pitched as a professional performance. Beginning with a vibrant Re Re Maanasa in Raga Nattai, Sukanya
ventured into a plethora of songs by different composers such as
Chengalvaraya Sastri, Thyagaraja, Purandaradasa, Muthuswami
Dikshitar, Patnam Subramanya Iyer, Ambujam Krishna, Swathi Thirunal,
Annamacharya and Poochi Srinivasa Iyengar. Kalpana swaras flowed
with ease. Raga niraval and the briga were quite
The alapana in raga Bahudari, in which she sang Brohva Barama, and Chandrasekharam in raga Marga Hindolam were excellent. Sukanya chose Kalyani as her main raga, and the song Nija Dasa Varadha. Her renditions included Yendha Mukham in Kalyana Vasantham, Saranga raga priye in raga Saranga, Sashi Vadhana in raga Chandrajyothi, Baro Namma Manage in raga Vasantha, Swara Janaka in raga Behag, and in each of them she brought out the beauty of the raga and the song.
The popular Brahmam Okattae was well received. Set to a folk tune, it was rendered exceptionally well. The penultimate number was a thillana and the finale came with Namamame Maeku Madhava in raga Madhyamavathi, listing the various names of Mahavishnu.
Excellent support on the violin was provided by Dr S Venkataraman of Dallas. Shanker Ayyar Ramji's thani aavarthanam has always been of a high quality. The accompaniments made the concert wholly enjoyable.
Kantha Devi, overwhelmed with joy, blessed Sukanya. Anuradha Subramanian, daughter of Savithri Sathyamurthi, a renowned musician, has to be congratulated on the excellent training and preparation of her student. Sukanya referred to her teacher as a "perfectionist", a description very well established in the concert.
Sukanya acknowledged that the performance could not have materialized but for her parents, Lalitha and Balachandran, who provided her with the opportunity and encouragement. Sukanya also thanked Anuradha and her husband Subramanian whom she described as her "second parents", for motivating her to perform a full-fledged concert. Sukanya Balachandran is a sophomore student at McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin.
It was indeed a proud moment for Houston music lovers to see the little girl they had known not to too long ago singing the saraliswaram bloom into concert musician.
Published on 21 April
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