Sangita Kala Acharya Smt. Seetha Rajan


Seetha Rajan, a versatile musician with about five decades of experience in the field, is respected as much for her unswerving adherence to tradition and classicism, as for her contribution to the propagation of the art to the younger generations. Perceiving in their young daughter a natural flair for music, her parents Smt. Lakshmi and Sri Subramaniam decided to entrust her musical growth to a dedicated Guru Sri Kittamani Iyer. After the initial grooming for about a decade, a shift to Secunderabad gave her an opportunity to learn Hindustani Music from a veteran musician Sri Bhim Shankar Rao. Subsequently a National Talent Scholarship (Govt. of India) brought her back to Chennai for advanced training under the renowned doyen ‘Sangita Pitamaha’ Semmangudi Srinivasier, which honed her talents and broadened her musical vision. She also pursued her academic studies and emerged as a University rank holder in M.A. Music. Her interest in musicology was kindled by her Professor Sri R.K.Ramanathan (University of Bangalore) and was later sharpened by Prof. Sri S.R. Janakiraman at the Music Academy, Madras. Total dedication to the subject and rich guidance from her mentors helped her blossom into a rare blend of a musician, scholar and guru. 

Vidvat and Vishranti

Endowed with a soothing and mellifluous voice, she announced her arrival into the arena of classical music by winning the First Prize in the All India Radio competition in 1967 and several other laurels all in a row. Performances in a number of prestigious sabhas followed. Passionate involvement and experience over the decades, enabled her to evolve her own style. Today, her renditions are characterised by profound vidvat and vishranti. With her knowledge of several languages and her emphasis on correct diction, she has been able to capture the mood and spirit of any song she sings, which translates into an elevating anubhava for rasikas. She has performed in many prestigious sabhas in India and abroad and has been the recipient of a number of awards. For this self-effacing and unassuming personality, sangita is a way of life and this philosophy is amply reflected in her music. She is a ‘Top’ Grade artiste of the All India Radio. 

Bala Brundam Sangita Gurukulam

With an innate passion for sharing her knowledge, Seetha Rajan has been involved in teaching vocal music as well as musicology. She has been a faculty member in prestigious institutions such as the Music Academy, Madras and Rukmini Devi College of Fine Arts, Kalakshetra Foundation, Chennai. Her contribution to the world of music, one may say, is the creation of Bala Brundam Sangita Gurukulam, an institution of quality, where disciplined and holistic training in music and other allied subjects are emphasized. The aim of this institution is to prepare a band of committed torch bearers who are to contribute to the future generations as teachers and scholars, apart from being capable performers.

Research Work

Adherence to tradition has not bound her from being innovative. Ever analytical, she has been constantly experimenting with new ideas particularly in the field of musical pedagogy.With a Senior Research Fellowship awarded by the Dept. of Culture, Govt. of India, she worked on her THESIS – “An attempt at analyzing and restructuring the curriculum for students of Carnatic Music (vocal)”. Herein, a method to make the introductory lessons appealing, yet strong rooted has been suggested. The initial lessons start with well formulated exercises in auduva ragas supplemented by songs/slokas in simple tunes and jatisvarams composed to illustrate the complete range, structure and characteristic sancharas of the ragas.  

Thematic Features

Seetha Rajan has carried out research on several musical subjects and has produced and staged a number of thematic presentations along with her disciples. Some of the popular ones are Prahlada Bhakti Vijayam, Nauka Charitram, Krishna Leela Tarangini, Devi Darisanam, A journey with Muthuswami Dikshitar, Ramanubhavam, Guruguho Jayati, Skandavataram and Eternal India. Rendition by this group is well appreciated for their impeccably synchronized presentation of songs, be it the sophisticated Kamalamba Navavarana kritis or the lilting multi-lingual bhajans as in their feature, Eternal India. 

Bodhana

Keen to disseminate her technique to young learners of classical Carnatic music, a book titled ‘Bodhana’ has been published which contains basic lessons. A portion of the lessons recorded by Charsur Digital Workstation Station, Chennai is available in two parts. 

Composing

With an innate flair for composing music, Seetha Rajan has been involved in setting music for lyrics. She has composed the musical score for the dance ballet 'Ahimsasraya Ashoka' for Smt. Krishnaveni Lakshmanan, ex-principal of Kalakshetra. She has composed a special thematic programme titled 'Sangamam' and presented the same at a National Level Workshop for CCRT scholars conducted in Shilparamam, Hyderabad in May 2003. For the project 'Bodhana', Smt. Seetha Rajan has set several lyrics to tune and has also composed jatisvarams and varnams.

Honours and Awards

Seetha Rajan was honoured with the respected BiruduACHARYA CHOODAMANI’ by Sri Krishna Gana Sabha, Chennai in August 2006. The prestigious ‘SANGITA KALA ACHARYABirudu by The Music Academy, Madras was awarded during the 80th Annual Conference and Festival in January 2007. Smt. Seetha Rajan was awarded a special citation by the Rasika Ranjana Sabha, Trichy, Tamilnadu in 2007 for outstanding contribution in the field of Classical Music, lauding her as a ‘KARMA YOGI. Other titles bestowed on her include ‘Nada Jyoti’ by Sri Jagadguru Veda Parayana Trust, Chennai, ‘Nadakkanal’ by Nadakannal trust, Chennai, ‘Gandharva Vidyadhara’ by Irai Pani Manram, Chennai, ‘Perumbananangai’ by Kudandhai P. Sundaresanar Naadukaann Kuzhu Thiruththavathurai Lalgudi, Trichy, Tamil Nadu, ‘Vocational Excellence Award’ by Rotary Club of Madras, Chennapatna and 'Best Teacher Award' by Rotary Club of Madras, RI Dist 3230. Recently, Seetha Rajan was awarded the 'MS Memorial Award' by Bharatiya Sangeetha Vaibhavam Trust and the title 'Sivan Isai Selvi' by the Papanasam Sivan Rasikar Sangam on the occasion of the 125th birth anniversary of Brahmasri Papanasam Sivan.



"Seetha Rajan is quite simply, one of the best Carnatic vocalists of our time. Her authentic Patanthara, unswerving classicism and uncompromising industry, infuse her Manodharma with freshness. Without changing a single Swara in a Dikshitar Kriti, she can still make it her own. Her kind of music draws tears, not applause."

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