Sikkil Gurucharan

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Sikkil Gurucharan
Sikkil Gurucharan in Concert.jpg
Sikkil Gurucharan
Background information
Born (1982-06-21) June 21, 1982 (age 31)
Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
Genres Carnatic Music
Occupations Carnatic Musician - Vocalist
Years active 1995–present
Website http://www.sikkilgurucharan.com/

Sikkil C. Gurucharan (born on June 21, 1982) is among the foremost young performing musicians of Carnatic music in India today. He is the grandson of Sikkil Kunjumani, elder of the internationally acclaimed flautists the Sikkil Sisters. Gurucharan has been under the tutelage Vaigal Shri S. Gnanaskandan and is currently being mentored by Shri B. Krishnamurthy. He is an 'A' grade All India Radio artist. The magazine India Today featured him among 35 Game Changers Under (the age of) 35 in India, a list of young achievers from different walks of life.[1]

Early life[edit]

Around 1987, as a 5-year-old, Gurucharan was casually coaxed by his grandmothers, the Sikkil Sisters, to sing some tune. After a little cajoling, he sang a popular film song. The sisters, especially Smt. Neela, were amazed at the "sruthi sudhham" or tonal perfection in his singing and also the near-perfect alignment of the notes. Together they decided that he must pursue vocal music. Almost every second member in the family had been trained in flute. But they were insistent that this boy should pursue singing, especially since he had shown immense promise at that age.

This was how Gurucharan made his initial forays into Carnatic music. Soon after the initiation, his family had to shift base to Hyderabad. At this juncture, his mother Mythili Chandrasekaran decided to impart the bala padam (initial exercises) and popular songs like Mudhaakaratha modhakam, Madhuraashtakam and Kurai ondrum illai among others. He began to involuntarily register the lessons that his sister learnt to play in the flute as well.

In 1990, the family returned to Chennai and the Sikkil Sisters wasted no time in ensuring that Gurucharan began serious music training under the aegis of Vaigal Shri S. Gnanaskandan, disciple of Dandapani Desikar and Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer. Guru Gnanaskandan was then the producer of All India Radio. Being a strict disciplinarian, Gnanaskandan ensured that Gurucharan took music seriously, especially when the people at home had created an ambience filled with Carnatic music to build his interest in singing.

Education and initial career[edit]

Sikkil Gurucharan was a student of Vidya Mandir Senior Secondary School, Mylapore, Chennai.

Gurucharan passed out of Vidya Mandir as the Best Outgoing Student in recognition of his achievements as an all-rounder. Following this, he enrolled himself at the prestigious Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda College which became integral to him pursuing music as a career due to the encouragement he received from all sides.

On the music front, by now he was more in tune with concert-related techniques and had begun singing during the Madras Music Season. The professors at college were knowledgeable in Carnatic music and were very supportive of his development. In 2002, Gurucharan passed out of this college with a gold medal for excellence in academics and was awarded the Best Outgoing Student once again.

By this time, Gurucharan had realized that his destiny was to pursue music. Regular outstation concerts and other assignments forced him to further his education through correspondence. He completed his masters degree in Financial Management from Loyola College, Chennai in 2004.

After completing post-graduation, Sikkil Gurucharan did a brief stint as a radio jockey at Worldspace Radio. In this profile, he was in-charge of presenting programmes, interviewing artists and doing voice-overs for the 24-hour Carnatic music channel "Shruti". Later when the channel shifted base from Chennai to Bangalore, Gurucharan decided to stay in Chennai, the seat of Carnatic music and pursue his passion.

Music as a profession[edit]

Anil Srinivasan and Sikkil Gurucharan
Sikkil Gurucharan performing with Anil Srinivasan

Sikkil Gurucharan’s first concert was held at the Music Academy, under the aegis of the Gnanaskandan Trust in the year 1994. From the time he decided to devote himself to Carnatic music as a full-time professional, there has been no looking back. In a span of close to 13 years, Gurucharan has performed extensively in India and abroad, spanning prestigious venues such as the Music Academy (Chennai), Sri Shanmukhananda Sabha (Mumbai), Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay (Singapore), Riverside Theatres (Sydney), Korean Arts Management Centre (Seoul), the Sangeet Natak Akademi (New Delhi), Chowdiah Memorial Hall (Bangalore) and also at popular festivals like the Tyagaraja Aradhana (Tiruvaiyaru), Cleveland Thyagaraja Aradhana (USA), Rabindra Utsav (Kolkata), to name a few.

Apart from performing the traditional Carnatic music concerts conforming to the Paddathi style, Sikkil Gurucharan and pianist Anil Srinivasan, have brought together the classical piano and Carnatic vocal music to create a format which has been termed as "devastatingly beautiful" by the legendary guitarist, John McLaughlin. Their music which has gathered followers in India, Singapore, Australia, USA and Europe in a short span of time, presents and preserves classical music in a way that reaches out to the younger listeners of music but at the same time, satisfies the puritans who look out for the aesthetic value. They have several albums to their credit. The duo has performed with renowned artists like the Dhananjayans, Anita Ratnam, Anandavalli, Ramli Ibrahim and Muraad Ali among others.

Awards & recognition[edit]

Title / Award Presented By Year
Vocational Excellence Award[2] Rotary Club of Madras Downtown 2012
Isai Peroli[3] Kartik Fine Arts 2012
Ritz Youth Icon Award Ritz Magazine 2012
Thandava Sangeetha Bharathi[4] Gopalakrishna Bharathi Festival Committee 2012
Nedunuri Krishnamurthi Puraskar[5] Visakha Music Academy 2011
Yagnaraman Award of Excellence[6] Sri Krishna Gana Sabha 2010
CMANA MLV Award for Best young Musician Narada Gana Sabha 2008
Nada Sri Sa Ri Ga Ma Pa Da Ni Foundation 2008
Best Concert of the season Indian Fine Arts Society 2008
Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar[7] Sangeet Natak Akademi 2007
Shanmukha Sironmani Award Sri Shanmukhananda Sabha, Mumbai 2007
Tchaikovsky Award for the best young musician of the year[8] Russian Cultural Center 2006
Yuva Kala Bharathi[9] Bharat Kalachar 2005
Isai Chudar Kartik Fine Arts 2005
Naada Oli Naada Inbam 2005
Best Vocalist proficient in all aspects of Music Indian Fine Arts 2005
TAG corporation's Ramabhadran Centenary Award for most promising young artiste of the year TAG Corporation 2005
Kalki Memorial Award[10] Kalki Memorial Trust 2005
Dharmatma memorial Award Raja Annamalaipuram Sabha 2005
Swarna Venkatesha Dikshitar award Music Academy Conference 2004, 2003, 2002
Best Concert Music Academy Conference 2003
Maharajapuram Viswanatha Iyer award for best raga renditions Sri Krishna Gana Sabha 2002
Best Performer in Sub Senior Category during Music Season Indian Fine Arts Society 2002
Best Vocalist Award Sri Krishna Gana Sabha 2000
Special Talent Award Thyaga Bramha Gana Sabha 1997
Special Talent Award Thyaga Bramha Gana Sabha 1997
Sangeetha Bhaskara Gnanaskandan Trust 1994

He has also won several prizes in the competitions held at Music Academy, Narada Gana Sabha, Mylapore Fine Arts etc. during the years 1995–1999

Albums & discography[edit]

Sikkil Gurucharan is among young musicians who stand as youth ambassadors for the future of Carnatic Music. In bringing this art to students and aficionados alike, he has opened the gates to a larger and interested audience having a welcoming attitude towards innovation while retaining the spirit of the original art form. This is evident in his active participation in youth festivals, lec-dems and his concerted effort at recording theme-based albums that have greater appeal with listeners.

Gurucharan has worked on an album with John McLaughlin, Mandolin U. Srinivas, Louis Banks called "Miles from India" which was nominated for the Best Contemporary Jazz Album at the 51st Grammy Awards.[11]

His album "Ramayana" is a musical dramatization of the epic, drawing on ragas and kritis to portray the various episodes. This album has been the underlying theme in Gurucharan's concerts in Singapore and Indonesia and received critical acclaim. On the other hand, his album "Madhirakshi", together with Anil Srinivasan, is the first of many a contemporary experiment with piano and voice. The album "Parama", has recently received a nomination for the category 'Best Carnatic Classical Album - Vocal' at the Global Indian Music Awards 2011.[12]

Here is a comprehensive list of his albums.

Genre Title Released By Year More Details
Carnatic Kaveri Pattinam Rajalakshmi Audio 2004 [1]
Ramayana, The Story of Rama 2005 [2]
Peraanandam 2006 [3]
The Lilting Neelambari 2006 [4]
Shadanane, The Six-faced Lord 2007 [5]
Trinetram, The Three-eyed Shiva 2008 [6]
December Season Live Concerts Charsur Records 2004 [7]
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
Ganapatyam 2005
Govindam Iha 2006
Saarupyam 2010
Parama 2010
Emerging Masters Amutham Records 2007 [8]
The Concert (DVD) 2008
Kamala Charane 2008
Sri Krishna Kamalam 2008
Chidanandam, Live Concert at Chidambaram Sanskriti Records 2009
Sarvam Bramha Mayam, Live Concert (DVD) 2010
Devotional Tiruppavai Giri Trading Company 2005 [9]
Tiruvembaavai 2006 [10]
Bhajan Sangrah 2007 [11]
Contemporary Madhirakshi Charsur Records 2007 [12]
Maayaa, The Color of Rain 2008 [13]
The Blue Divine Sanskriti Records 2009
Tarunam Sanskriti Records 2010
Kannamma (DVD) Sanskriti Records 2010
The Story of Silk Silkworm Boutique 2012 [14]
Miles from India EMI Records 2008 [15]
Raaga Expressions EMI Records 2010

Personal life[edit]

Sikkil Gurucharan's mother Mythili, the daughter of Sikkil Kunjumani, is a retired flute teacher from the Government Music College, Chennai. His father Chandrasekaran, a consultant with a leading pharmaceutical distribution firm, is a popular Tamil theatre artist who has also done cameo roles in films like Sivaji. Gurucharan married Janani Lakshminarayan on May 23, 2010[13] and the couple resides in Chennai. His maternal aunt Sikkil Mala Chandrasekar is an acclaimed flautist and is married to Chandrasekar, grand son of the legendary singer M. S. Subbulakshmi.

References[edit]

External links[edit]