07 May, 2021

The Shruti Ever Endures

No song ’n dance routine, the chosen traverse continents and cultures for their music

R.A. Chandroo
The Shruti Ever Endures

It was the summer of 2002. The famous Cleveland Thyagaraja Aradhana, the largest Indian classical music festival outside the subcontinent, was celebrating its 25th edition. Among the final performances was that of Chennai-based classical vocalist T.M. Krishna. One of the thousands attending was 16-year-old Vikram Raghavan. Like all ‘good South Indian kids’ who grow up  overseas, especially in the US, Vikram had been initiated into Carnatic music early. “To be utterly  honest, though, back then, I wasn’t really serious about music,” Vikram admits.

The morning after his performance, Krishna presented a lecture-demonstration that, in Vikram’s words, ‘blew him away’. “I used that platform to ask Krishna directly—as he stepped off the stage—if he would ‘please teach me music’. To which Krishna replied, ‘Of course. Meet me when you come to India’.” In June 2003, Vikram returned to Chennai, his hometown, and started learning under Krishna’s tutelage. At the time,...

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