Sudha Ragunathan

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Sudha Ragunathan
Sudha Ragunathan in Music Academy, Chennai, 2010
Sudha Ragunathan in Music Academy, Chennai
Born 30 April
Nationality Indian
Citizenship Indian
Education PG in Economics
Alma mater Ethiraj College for Women
Occupation Singer, composer
Spouse(s) Ragunathan (1982–present)
  • Kaushik
  • Malavika
  • Venkatraman
  • Choodamani
Awards Padma Shri, Sangita Kalanidhi, Kalaimamani, Padma Bhushan
Musical career
Genres indian classical, carnatic

Sudha Ragunathan is a Carnatic composer and vocalist from South India.

Early life and education[edit]

Sudha Raghunathan was born in Bangalore, Karnataka. In 1977, her family moved to Chennai, Tamil Nadu.[1] She studied at Ethiraj College, and obtained a postgraduate degree in economics.[2]

Musical career[edit]


Sudha Raghunathan received her initial training in Carnatic music from her mother V. Choodamani. From the age of three, she began to learn bhajans, Hindu devotional songs. Her tutelage continued under B. V. Lakshman. In 1977, she received an Indian government scholarship to study music under a doyenne of Carnatic music, Dr. M.L Vasantha Kumari, whose student she remained for thirteen years.[3]

Trained under Dr. ML Vasanthakumari in the gurukula style, it involved considerable amounts of listening to the teacher and other practitioners to absorb their style and oeuvre. Part of her duties involved the accompaniment on the tanpura of her teacher during concerts,[4] and also accompanying her during concerts.[1][3] In her own words,[5] "A period of 13 years from 1977 to 1990, a phase of complete absorption and internalisation! There was no teaching in a formal atmosphere. We learnt while being with her during the kutcheris (concerts). We would record her singing in our minds and then replay it while learning the intricacies. It was a very challenging and different experience and as I had begun learning very early from her, my mind was like a sponge and absorbed whatever I heard".

As of January 2015, she is preparing to debut in Kollywood as a music director with the upcoming Tamil film 'Thanneer' based on a Novel published in 2009 by Ashoka Mitran.[6]

Performances and critical reception[edit]

Sudha Raghunathan has performed at the Madras Music Season, the most distinguished venue for Carnatic music, every year since 1990, when her teacher Vasanthakumari died.[7] She is considered among the top rank of Carnatic performers.[8] Being a top notch performer for over three decades, she draws large crowd even today.Sudha is one of the few Indians to have enthralled packed audiences at International Music Festivals and Concerts held in the U.S., Canada, UK , South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Philippines, Indonesia, The Middle East, Switzerland, Germany, Denmark, France, The Netherlands, Finland, Sweden, Luxembourg, Belgium and Sri Lanka. Indeed, with the award in 2013 of the Sangita Kalanidhi of the Madras Music Academy, her importance as one of India's finest classical musicians has been firmly established.[2] She recently was awarded the Padma Bhushan, India's third-highest civilian honor in January 2015.

First UN released stamp to honour India’s most celebrated carnatic music artist M S Subbulakshmi, was presented to Ms. Raghunathan to honour her performance at the UN.Oct 2016.[9]

Concert performances[edit]

She has performed globally and has collaborated with world ranking artistes from all over the world. Her noteworthy performances include the one at the United Nations,[10] Théâtre de la Ville, Paris to name a few. Sudha also has the honor of having performed at the Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Centre, at New York Broadway to commemorate 50 years of the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. Sudha is the only Indian vocalist to have participated in the Global Vocal Meeting organized by the 'Burghof,' an Academy of Music and Arts at Lorrach, Germany and produced by Stimmen Voices International Vocal Festival. This group has toured some of the best halls in the USA -Cleveland, Tuscon, Los Angeles and Chicago.

Other Music[edit]

She has performed as a playback singer in the Tamil cinema as well.[11] She got her first break as playback singer under the genius musician Illayaraja in the movie 'Ivan'. The song,'Enna Enna Sethai' was a roaring success. Not surprising considering, her golden voice has enthralled so many classical listeners. She has sung many more films and the lilting number 'Anal Mele' is a favorite of all music lovers. Besides the Carnatic repertoire, Sudha Raghunathan has also explored the world music scene, in particular fusion music.[12]


Following other stalwarts of Carnatic music, Sudha Raghunathan in turn has also taught the tradition to her students.[13] Sudha also plans to start her own 'Sangeetha Gurukulam' to provide vocal music training to continue the rich musical heritage that her Guru always believed in

Personal life[edit]

Sudha Raghunathan is married and has two children.

She is known for her charitable work, heading the Samudaaya Foundation that provides healthcare to the poor.[1] The foundation has also raised funds for victims of the Gujarat earthquake and cyclone relief in Orissa.[12]


Year Song Album Music Co-Singers
2012 Koniyada tharame[14] Thrahimam 2 Pranam Kamlakar Roopa Revathi
Sannuthinthumo Prabho [14] Thrahimam2 Pranam Kamlakar



  1. ^ a b c Ranjani Govind (15 March 2013). "Holding the new wave". The Hindu. Retrieved 8 November 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c B. Kolappan (29 July 2013). "Sangita Kalanidhi for Sudha Ragunathan". The Hindu. Retrieved 8 November 2013. 
  3. ^ a b Deepa Ganesh (13 September 2013). "In the flow of things". The Hindu. Retrieved 8 November 2013. 
  4. ^ Shobha Warrier (4 February 2011). "Wanted to be a doctor, became Carnatic star". Retrieved 8 November 2013. 
  5. ^ "Simplify Carnatic music so it reaches a larger audience, says renowned singer Sudha Raghunathan | Latest News & Updates at Daily News & Analysis". dna. 2015-10-31. Retrieved 2017-01-29. 
  6. ^ Sudha Raghunathan Debut as Music Director with film version of Ashoka Mitran's novel 'Thanneer'
  7. ^ Ranjani Govind (22 December 2006). "For a song". The Hindu. Retrieved 8 November 2013. 
  8. ^ M. Balaganessin (18 March 2006). "A saga of magic". The Hindu. Retrieved 8 November 2018.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Looking beyond the summit". The Hindu. Retrieved 2017-01-29. 
  11. ^ Sreedhar Pillai (14 September 2007). "Shhh... He's back". The Hindu. Retrieved 8 November 2013. 
  12. ^ a b Ranjani Govind (21 August 2007). "Sudha is doing her bit for society". The Hindu. Retrieved 8 November 2013. 
  13. ^ G. Swaminathan (31 August 2007). "In the footsteps of her guru". The Hindu. Retrieved 8 November 2013. 
  14. ^ a b
  15. ^ "Padma Awards" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2015. Retrieved July 21, 2015. 

External links[edit]