By A. Kanyakumari
I first met Sudha in 1976 at MLV Amma’s residence. She had come to learn vocal music from MLV through a scholarship. She sang Dharmavati that day and I could sense that Sudha had a bright future. It is challenging to play for, or sing along with a vocalist as great as MLV. You had to be very alert and extremely intelligent to grasp MLV’s creativity and spontaneity. And Sudha had it all – intelligence, grasping power, sincerity and a malleable voice as sweet as honey. You must listen to Sudha’s Tamil Eelam recording done years ago to believe this. I cannot recall now, but for some reason MLV Amma could not record for the CD.
MLV Amma’s concerts were planned to suit the audience’s mood, response and interest. Having spent years on-stage singing beside her guru, Sudha has also learned this concert planning. MLV gave Sudha appropriate chances in concerts which highlighted her vocal credentials and capabilities. I remember Sudha sang the tara sthayi sangatis brilliantly. Sudha proved her talent on the spot whenever given a chance by her guru.
Sudha is a sincere musician. Be it a sabha concert or a marriage kutcheri, she does not compromise on either the quality or the repertoire. This is yet another attribute which Sudha has imbibed from her guru.
Those days there was this practice of reviewing and discussing each artist’s performance – the dos and don’ts – after a concert or a tour. Sudha was always a keen observer, and improved and gained a lot from these discussions. She has very well absorbed the “MLV bani”. I recollect Sudha’s mother was very particular that her daughter should travel with me, she was confident that I would take care of her.
Sudha’s efforts, hard work and guru bhakti have all contributed to her making a mark in the music world. She must be appreciated for being successful for so many years, living up to the expectations of her rasikas and for achieving so much in this field. My blessings and best wishes to Sudha Ragunathan.