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Interview with Suryaprakash

How did you get into the Music field?

It was an auspicious accident that happened when I was just 7 years old, as I
was travelling with my uncle, a seasoned musician, on an outstation trip. The
group was enjoying the trip by singing music, but the fact that I was able to
repeat some to 10-15 phrases of my uncle’s raga alapana, without any basic
knowledge of music or swara sthanas was the one that took everyone by
surprise. This is actually made my uncle feel that I had a natural gift for
music and advised me to learn music the formal way.

Who was your guru?

Initially I started to learn from my uncle V Rajamani , student of Semmangudi


Srinivasa Iyer and then later from Vidwan M A Venugopalan in Chromepet as
we were residing there. Then the stage was set for learning music with the
full stage exposure and gaining knowledge for the big stage – tutelage from
Sangeetha Kalanidhi T V Sankarnarayanan in the typical Gurukulavasa
format for nearly 12 years, which was to maximize my music knowledge
under the able and ever encouraging guidance of the Maestro.

Your first Appearance?

It happened much before my Gurukulavasam, when I was just 12 years of


age quite fittingly at my uncle Rajamani’s 60th birthday celebration, along
with the senior accompaniments; certainly “baptism by fire”!

Your Highlighting Performance?

Along with music, I had also take care of my academics and was at
crossroads whether to take up my engineering qualification in BITS, Pilani or
be in my home city to pursue both of them together. I took to be in Chennai
and further my musical ambition. In 1989, my first big occasion as a
musician was set in Youth Association for Culture and Music (YACM) Annual
Fest, a performance that created good reviews in the media opening the
doors for bigger ones, in my career. I went to about 4000+ performances in
India and abroad.

High Point of your Career?

When I received the Best Concert Prize from the prestigious Music Academy.
The next one was my chance association with the vintage classics. In this
context, vociferous that I am in my appreciation of the olden days film music
(1930-1940’s), which was mostly synonymous with classical music, I decided
to bring to the fore, the classicism of the vintage classics with a special focus
towards the hits of M K Thyagaraja Bhagavathar and M S Subbalakshmi by
rerendering them in my voice and presentation. That Compact Disc titled “
Legendary Melodies” was welcomed by the media and the connoisseurs with
accolades, and turned out to be the season’s hot seller. I was specially
invited by DD to render such songs in their flagship musical-revival “Thullada
Manamum Thullum”, which has made me reach out to millions of people,
right inside their very drawing room.

Your Goals ahead?

Having received so much from music, am now harboring thoughts of giving


back to the world of music in the form of grooming the younger generation
and taking this now predominantly elitist art-form to all sections of the
people. This is will be good step in the direction of widening and also
strengthening its base. I am also doing charity concerts, especially for the
old age homes, since the inmates are unable to attend the music festival
concerts. I have plans to introduce music to the friends of the IT Sector, as a
stress reliever, which will help in mental diversion and certainly enhance
productivity through holistic stress management. Right now I am already
conducting the music lessons over the internet, using tools such as Skype, to
a lot of students abroad. My accent is on voice culture since it adds a lot of
value to the process of gaining musical knowledge. Also I feel that the surest
path for our gloriously traditional music to have more global reach is voice
culture and perfection in presentation of creative aspects.

Your Advice for Beginner & Intermediate Singers?

Quality always sells, whatever field may be in. For budding performers – it
would be nice to do a bit of soul searching, work towards your strengths and
present traditional music without losing out on the individuality. Emphasis is
on the individual impact that one must create at each and every platform,
without compromising on classicism.

Changing Trends of Music?

In today’s world of instant gratification, it appears to be more performance-


oriented as against the golden era of classical music when the primary
motive was towards better musicianship.

Unforgettable Experiences in Musical Career?


In one of the abroad trips, during the journey from Canada to United States, I
was on board, discussing on the ragam-thanam-pallavi with my co-artistes
for the concert ahead when the flight stewardess asked me if I could sing for
them. On my startled, but affirmative response I was promptly guided to the
cockpit area and given the mike. My rendering of “Krishna Nee Begane Baro”
with an English translation as a prelude that day fetched rousing applause,
miles above the earth and the stewardess stuffed us with cartons of honey-
roast peanuts along with other goodies. Thrilling stuff! You now know that I
am not joking when I say that the perks for being a musician are peanuts!

Thoughts on Fusion Music?

Any type of music that has “sound” logic (oh my punning habit really dies
hard!), elevates, not merely entertains the listener and lingers in one’s mind
long after it has been rendered is good music, be it Carnatic, Hindusthani,
Western, African or even a combo. But it takes nothing short of monumental
artistry to perform fusion with the aforesaid attributes, thus making it
impossible for most of the self-branded “fusion music” to even pass muster.

Awards & Recognitions :

Conferred with awards such as Yuva Kala Bharathy by Bharat Kalachar,


Ganamrutha Sagara by Ganamukhundapriya, which was conferred by Shri.
N Murali, President, Music Academy, and many more. The latest feather in
the cap is the title Gana Kala Vipanchee from the hands of none other than
the living legend, Padma Vibhushan Dr. M Balamuralikrishna in December
2007.

Personal Factfile :

Name : R.Suryaprakash

Date of Birth : 22nd October 1967

Place : Chennai

Favorite Place : Melbourne , Australia

Favorite Food : Curd Rice with pickles

Favourite Music : Any creative music from classical through ghazals to


western music

Favorite Book : All kinds


Hobby : lover of nature and an avid Trekker. Fav Pastimes
are Animal Watching, Browsing Internet

Favorite Sport : Cricket , Carrom

If not Music : If I did not take up Music, I would have done art painting
or story writing.

Email : suryaraga@yahoo.com

SkypeID : surya_master

Dedicates success to : his family, namely…..parents Padma and


Ramachandran, wife Chitra and little daughter, Purnima