Indira Sivasailam Endowment Concert 2016

The unequivocal choice for the seventh Indira Sivasailam Endowment Medal and Concert are sisters, Ranjani and Gayatri, popularly known as RaGa.

Ranjani and Gayatri are world renowned Indian classical musicians with professional experience of twenty five years. Known for their versatility and multi-faceted capabilities as artists, Ranjani-Gayathri forayed into the world of Carnatic music as kids learning the violin. Training under Sangita Bhooshanam Prof. T.S. Krishnaswami in Mumbai, they made a name for themselves as one of the leading violinists of their generation performing in leading sabhas all over the country and overseas. Subsequently, their potential as violin accompanists was recognized and they have performed along with legends such as Smt. D. K. Pattammal, Sri. M. Balamurali Krishna, Sri.T. Vishwanathan among other popular musicians.

In the course of their illustrious career, they have appeared as soloists, violin duos, accompanists, vocal duos, composers, educators and ambassadors of Indian Classical Music. Their musical journey can be traced back to their family; having received their initial vocal training from their mother Smt. Meenakshi Balasubramanian – a Carnatic vocalist, and their father, Sri. N. Balasubramanian, who was instrumental in shaping their musical values.

The transition from violin to vocals was sublime and the sisters under the tutelage of Padma Bhushan Sangeeta Kala Acharya Sri. P. S. Narayanaswamy, started giving vocal concerts from 1997. Almost two decades since, they have an extensive repertoire consisting, gems on the Trinity, old and contemporary Tamil compositions and other languages including Sanskrit, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Hindi and Marathi. Their talent has won them recognition and numerous awards and titles, notably; the Sanskriti Award from Sanskriti Pratishtan, New Delhi - only the third Carnatic musicians in thirty years to be bestowed the honour; the Lifetime Achievement Award from Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan in 2013; National Eminence Award from Sri. Shanmukhananda Fine Arts & Sangeetha Sabha, Mumbai; the prestigious title of Vani Kala Sudhakara from Sri Thyaga Brahma Gana Sabha; the title of Sangeetha Kala Siromani from Chennai Cultural Academy during the Chennai Music Festival 2015-16; the title of "Isai Peroli" from the Kartik Fine Arts, Chennai; the Kalki Krishnamurthy Memorial Award.

Ranjani Gayatri’s music is defined by perfection of sruti (pitching), powerful voice control, rich imagination and impeccable aesthetics, qualities that arise from the sisters' capacity to deeply experience and enjoy what they sing. Their two voices blend and contrast to strike a fine balance between vibrancy and contemplation, intellect and emotion, tradition and innovation. Their concerts resound with energy, freshness and emotional fervor. Apart from singing, Ranjani and Gayatri have a penchant for composing music which they perform. Most of the abhangs they sing at the end of their concerts have been set to music by them. They have also set many other thukkada pieces, including bhajans.

As celebrated Indian classical musicians, Ranjani and Gayatri are conservators of their genre's unique beauty and preserve ancient tradition as they continue to innovate within it.

The seventh Indira Sivasailam Endowment Concert will be held at The Music Academy, Madras, on October 7, 2016, marking the beginning of the Navaratri season and celebrations.