Song of Surrender

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Musician to watch

Sikkil C Gurucharan

Among the more talented vocalists in Carnatic music today, 30-year-old Sikkil C. Gurucharan has acquired a reputation for the high emotional content of his music, the skill with which he enunciates lyrics with care and love for the meaning. A grandson of Sikkil Kunjumani, the senior Sikkil Sister, Gurucharan has been a disciple of Vaigal S Gnanaskandan and B Krishnamurthy. He is an ‘A’ grade All India Radio artist.

Gurucharan’s vocal sruti suddham even at the age of five led his grandparents to choose a singing career for him in a family of flautists. With early lessons from his mother Mythili, and following with a keen ear the flute practice of the Sikkil Sisters and his aunt Mala Chandrasekhar, he blossomed into a talented vocalist once he started learning formally from Gnanaskandan (with the family returning to Chennai in 1990 from a stint in Hyderabad).

Gnanaskandan, a disciple of Dandapani Desikar and Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer, was then a producer at All India Radio. A strict disciplinarian, the guru ensured that Charan stayed focused on a traditional pathantara.

Gurucharan was fortunate in the constant support and encouragement he received at his school, Vidya Mandir, and his college, Vivekananda College, Chennai. In 2002, he earned a gold medal for excellence in academics and was adjudged the Best Outgoing Student. He completed his masters degree in Financial Management from Loyola College, Chennai in 2004.

Starting with his first concert at the Music Academy was for the Gnanaskandan Trust in 1994, Gurucharan has performed extensively in India and abroad. He and pianist Anil Srinivasan have brought together the classical piano and Carnatic vocal music to create a novel format, appreciated the world over. The pair has produced several albums and performed with other artists like the Dhananjayans, Anita Ratnam, Ramli Ibrahim and Murad Ali among others.

Gurucharan was for a while a radio jockey at Worldspace Radio, presenting programmes, interviewing artists and doing voice-overs for the Carnatic music channel “Shruti”.

Already a young veteran of the senior slot at venues like the Music Academy, Sikkil Gurucharan seems poised to take off into a higher level as a performing artist in the Carnatic music scene. His friends and admirers will surely hope that his vocalisation will acquire the greater azhuttam that should be a natural development at this stage of his career. With his impeccable pedigree, impressive stage presence, mellifluous voice and good taste, he can only gain from such a focus.

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