K. N. SHASHIKIRAN
Born into a family of renowned musicians on the 10th of September 1970, Shashikiran soon made his mark in the family. His grandfather, Gottuvadyam Narayana Iyengar was a legend in his times, not to mention his father ‘Chitravina’ Narasimhan, a musician with a vision and mission and brother ‘Chitravina’ Ravikiran, an internationally acclaimed genius. His father discovered Shashikirans’s talents when he was a mere toddler and nurtured it with great care. Thus, at two, he stormed the music world as a child prodigy who could identify Ragas (melodies), demonstrate complicated Talas (rhythms) and answer other technical questions pertaining to Carnatic music. He has also had the privilege of honing his musical skills under stalwarts like T Brinda, T Vishwanathan and K S Krishnamurthy.
His first vocal concert was at the age of 9, when he sang in tandem with his younger sister Kiranavali. Since then, there has been no looking back for Shashikiran. He is now an established vocalist with a vast experience of over 1000 concerts including lectures-demos, jugalbandis and fusions in prominent organisations in India, USA, Canada, Singapore, Malaysia and so on. He has been regularly featured in Radio, Television networks and commercial albums. He also has the added advantage of being a mridangist, having trained under the late Palghat Sundaram.
He obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Music from the University of Madras where he ranked first. Then followed a Master’s degree in Music from the University of Madras where again his talents showed as he was a Gold Medallist. He is currently working towards achieving a Doctorate on “Teaching Methodology in Carnatic Music”. Alongside he also holds a diploma in Audio and Video Technology.
Shashikiran has won laurels many a time for his talent. He was awarded the Rani Sethulakshmi Bai Memorial Award in 1990, the Best Pallavi Singer for his concert at the Rasika Ranjani Sabha in Trichy which was a series featuring many eminent musicians. In 1997 he received an award for being the Best Exponent of Any Raga from the Music Academy. Also included among this never ending list of accolades are an award from the Carnatic Music Association of North America in 1998 for being the Best Vocalist and finally the Bharat Nirman Excellence Award in 1999 for meritorious accomplishments in diverse fields of activity that have immensely contributed to the Nation’s progress. He is the youngest person and the first musician in India to receive this honour .He was the recipient of the Ford Foundation scholarship on the “Vina Dhanammal Bani” in 1990
He was the lead male vocalist in Chitravina Ravikiran’s ballet, Lakshmi Prabhavam, premiered in the US, which performed to packed halls and standing ovations in over 20 cities in the USA and Canada in between March and June 1997.
Shashikiran doesn’t limit his himself to field of music alone. He contributes to other websites and newspapers through articles and reviews.
He has conducted and compered several quiz programs, participated in panel discussions and presented papers in major centres like the Rice University, Houston; Ethnomusicology Society, Indiana State University; Drew University, New Jersey.
He was featured by the National Radio, Purdue, USA and US and Singapore Television networks
He is the Founder and Managing Director for Srishti’s Carnatica Private Limited along with noted Carnatic vocalist S.Sowmya and is also the Managing Trustee of Carnatica Archival Centre. He was the Former Course Director and Chief Co-ordinator for the International Foundation for Carnatic Music. His success as a concert artiste has been immense and he is a very well known young artist of the present generation. He has had over five years of successful experience in management, administration, co-ordination, public relations, concept-designing and marketing.
THE CYBER CARNATIC MUSICIAN
Shashikiran is the producer, author and the brain behind the world’s first interactive and encyclopedic CD-ROM on Carnatic music titled “Nadanubhava – The horizons of Carnatic music”. He also has the credit of being the Joint Creator and developer of the world’s first twin-pack VCD on Carnatic music titled “Nadopasana – My own Carnatic tutor”, a self-help guru with Karaoke features. The Producer of other popular music albums (audio & video) like the VCD on Bharatiyar songs, Vintage Reminiscences and “Melting melodies”. Furthermore he is the Designer of one of the first websites on Carnatic music – http://www.clickcarnatica.com and http://www.carnatica.com.
Actively involved in documenting Carnatic music through the Carnatic Archival Centre in Project Carnatic music – 2010 Shashikiran is also the Coordinator of several successful events like Raganubhava series.
As a prodigy he has been watched by the press over the years and the following are some of the excerpts on the young and inevitably prominent talent of K.N.Shashikiran.
“…. Another child prodigy…. This was Shashikiran. Just 30 months old, Shashikiran takes less than no time to recognise the ragas, which are sung to him. Shashikiran already knows 200 Ragas…”
“…The boy is so young that he cannot even pronounce the Sanskrit words properly. It was a wonder to watch him baffle his audience no end the way he achieved these great musical feats. Shashikiran’s in every way a match to his elder bother”.
“…Shashikiran, a toddler of three years of age demonstrated that he is a musical wonder. One may find living examples of reincarnation…. This is the declared view of many eminent persons…”
“…His concert at the Mylapore Fine Arts Club was of high professional standards. He has a rich and resonant voice and he is impeccable in Sruthi. He is very confident in every aspect of Carnatic music. In the Pallavi, it was obvious from the manner in which the young lad operated the reverse gear technique that he has a research oriented mind….”
“…. When such phenomena as Shashikiran occur, one can understand Albert Einstein rushing to the stage to embrace the young Mehuhin and exclaiming, “Now I that know there is a God in heaven”...”
“…Shashikiran displayed a bold voice and delivery and seemed to know much about the art of presenting Carnatic music….”
“…Young Shashikiran’s vocal recital revealed his refined artistic schooling. He fitted into the character of Tamil pieces with aplomb...”
“Flawless recital by Shashikiran…. Shashikiran gave an outstanding vocal recital on Saturday morning…Shashikiran’s Ragam Tanam Pallavi was of top quality. His control over talam was more than flawless...”
“…Hunting for new talents. I discovered a bright young artiste at Bharath Kalachar in the person of Shashikiran. He has a stentorian baritone voice, capable of any maneuver. Very few Carnatic vocalists have this gift. At times, he reminds one of the late vocalist M.D. Ramanathan. He is able delve deep even into the sub-bass register that strikes a sympathetic chord in the audience…”