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S Rajam, the unique musician-painter is a highly respected personality in the music firmament. If his paintings have brought alive several of the Carnatic music legends, his music has given life to several ragas and compositions! Sri Kapali Fine Arts honoured this eminent and versatile artist(e) with the title of Sangeeta Jyoti during the December music season 2001. Pushkala Ramakrishnan in a brief chat with him...


I have undergone training from many Gurus. I learnt Dikshitar kritis from Ambi Dikshitar. It is from Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar that I attained Pathantara suddham and perfection in singing fast tempo. I learnt swaraprastara from Madurai Mani Iyer. Papanasam Sivan though a composer himself, has taught me lots of Tyagaraja Kritis. Although I have learnt from many gurus, I crave to express what we have not heard from other musicians.

Favorite Vocalist(s) from the past: Voleti Venkateswarulu and Tiger Varadachari
Favorite Instrumentalist(s) from the past: Vina Dhanammal and Tiruvalangadu Sundaresa Iyer. The latter has also guided me in many musical aspects.
Favorite Vocalist(s) of the present day: Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer for maintaining tradition and Seshagopalan for his brilliance.
Favorite Instrumentalist(s) of the present day: Lalgudi Jayaraman and Mandolin Srinivas.
Favorite Composer(s): I am deeply interested in Koteeswara Iyer’s compositions. I do not compare any other composer with him, but I find great pleasure in singing his compositions. He is the one who has handled the 72 melakartas.
Favorite Raga(s): Any Melakarta raga, especially Prati madhyama ragas.
Favorite Venue(s): Radio programmes within the studios give me immense satisfaction. I relish lec-dems also. The reason for this may be that accompaniments are not given prominence in either of these, which gives me an opportunity to enhance my knowledge.
Favorite Hobbies:

Not many may know  that I am an outstanding painter. I do original classical paintings. I divide my time between painting and music.


Posted on January 11, 2002


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