Monday, June 15, 2015

Musical Anecdotes--47—Ranjani and Gayatri


     Musical Anecdotes---47

                                                                                                                                                                                              47—Ranjani  and Gayatri  

Image result for RANJANI  AND  GAYATRI--SINGERS                                       


                            The sisters Ranjani and Gayatri are Carnatic vocalists and violinists .born to N. Balasubramanian and Meenakshi (a Carnatic vocalist ) and have a younger sister , Savitri . Born into a Palakkad Iyer family deeply involved in classical music, Ranjani and Gayatri's musical talents were discovered at a very early age. " We came together under the tutelage of Sangeetha Bhooshanam Sri.T.S.Krishnaswami when we were nine (Ranjani) and six (Gayatri) years old. He learnt directly from the legendary Sangeetha Kalanidhi T.S. Sabesa Iyer, Tanjavur Ponniah Pillai, Madurai Subramania Iyer and Madras Balakrishna Iyer. Our revered guru had developed an advanced fingering technique, one that was logical and scientific in approach. Such was his dedication to his work that we don't remember a single occasion when he missed his class, due to any reason, personal, social, health or any other."


                                  A bit about Shri Krishnaswamy's training technique from the sisters. "We studied under him from 1982 to 1992. He gave a great deal of attention to correct position of the palm and fingers for holding the bow, and the proper movement of the wrist for moving the bow from the holding end to the tip. He would not tolerate gripping the bow with the fingers and attached much importance to the elegance with which the bow is held."


                                 "Our mother Meenakshi was a Carnatic vocalist herself, while our father N Balasubramanian was a great music aficionado. Even when we were babies in arms, we were taken to both Hindustani and Carnatic concerts, and that seems to have had its impact.", according to the sisters.


                                       Ranjani and Gayatri began their music career as violin duet artistes. Through their intense training from  Prof. T. S. Krishnaswami, they quickly established themselves as top-class violinists of international repute. The sisters achieved success as violin duet performers, and subsequently they also proved successful as violin accompanists. Both Ranjani and Gayatri have accompanied various artists on the violin. After more than a decade as successful violinists of high calibre, the sisters' foray into vocal music has brought them instant recognition and wide acclaim. 


                                       The first performance of the sisters in Madras was under the auspiced of the Sruti Laya Seva Trust of Karaikudi Mani at the Sastri Hall in the Eighies. Karaikudi Mani and the Bombay Sisters are maunly responsible for introducing them to Madras audiences.



                                    The sisters have given vocal concerts since 1997, after they became students of Narayanaswamy. They have learnt  Bhajans from vocalist Seetha Narayanan. They learnt a few abhangs   and gavlans,  Vishwas Shirgaonkar, Manek Bhide who was Bal Gandharva's leading disciple and Appasaheb Deshpande.


                                    Ever since their debut in 1997, they have performed in all prominent sabhas in the December Music Festival in Chennai, and at premier institutions all over the country. They have to their credit several album releases, both violin and vocal. They give highly successul concert tours in Singapore and Malaysia , the USA and Canada in , Australia, New Zealand and the Middle East .


                                          Ranjani and Gayatri are composers too. A few 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.


                                  The sisters have  received several  awards and recognitions throughout their career.  A few are-- Sanskriti Awards, Kalki Krishnamurthi Memorial Award, Yogam Narayana Swamy Award,National Eminence Award by the Shanmukhananda Sabha; Title of "Isai Peroli" from the Kartik Fine Arts, Chennai; Dr. M.L. Vasanthakumari Endowment Award, awarded by Narada Gana Sabha, Chennai ;Sarada Krishna Iyer Memorial Award for Outstanding Concert. They won The Outstanding Violinists Award for four consecutive years from the Music Academy, Chennai from 1994 to 1998.


                                        They performed their debut violin duet concert at the Indian Music Group Festival of Music when they were thirteen and ten years old respectively.