21 June 1982 |
Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
|Occupation(s)||Carnatic musician – vocalist|
Sikkil C. Gurucharan (born on 21 June 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.
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 on 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
Sikkil Gurucharan was a student of Vidya Mandir Senior Secondary School, Mylapore, Chennai.
Gurucharan graduated from 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 graduated from this college with a gold medal for excellence in academics and was awarded the Best Outgoing Student once again.
By this time, Gurucharan had realised that his destiny was to pursue music. Regular outstation concerts and other assignments forced him to further his education through correspondence. He completed his master's 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
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
|Title / Award||Presented By||Year|
|Vocational Excellence Award||Rotary Club of Madras Downtown||2012|
|Isai Peroli||Kartik Fine Arts||2012|
|Ritz Youth Icon Award||Ritz Magazine||2012|
|Thandava Sangeetha Bharathi||Gopalakrishna Bharathi Festival Committee||2012|
|Nedunuri Krishnamurthi Puraskar||Visakha Music Academy||2011|
|Yagnaraman Award of Excellence||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||Sangeet Natak Akademi||2007|
|Shanmukha Sironmani Award||Sri Shanmukhananda Sabha, Mumbai||2007|
|Tchaikovsky Award for the best young musician of the year||Russian Cultural Center||2006|
|Yuva Kala Bharathi||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||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
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.
His album "Ramayana" is a musical dramatisation 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.
Here is a comprehensive list of his albums.
|Genre||Title||Released By||Year||More Details|
|Carnatic||Kaveri Pattinam||Rajalakshmi Audio||2004|||
|Ramayana, The Story of Rama||2005|||
|The Lilting Neelambari||2006|||
|Shadanane, The Six-faced Lord||2007|||
|Trinetram, The Three-eyed Shiva||2008|||
|December Season Live Concerts||Charsur Records||2004|||
|Emerging Masters||Amutham Records||2007|||
|The Concert (DVD)||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|||
|Maayaa, The Color of Rain||2008|||
|The Blue Divine||Sanskriti Records||2009|
|Kannamma (DVD)||Sanskriti Records||2010|
|The Story of Silk||Silkworm Boutique||2012|||
|Miles from India||EMI Records||2008|||
|Raaga Expressions||EMI Records||2010|
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 23 May 2010 and the couple resides in Chennai. They have a daughter, Hridya. His maternal aunt Sikkil Mala Chandrasekar is an acclaimed flautist and is married to Chandrasekar, grandson of the legendary singer M. S. Subbulakshmi.
- 51st Grammy Awards