For 33-yearold S R Maruthi Prasad, music inspires one to attain the impossible. The Carnatic vocalist believes that all of us have an intimate connection with the universe through music. Born visually impaired, Prasad’s tryst with music began at the age of three.
“I never chose music. Music chose me. It has the power to transport you and uplift your senses. It is the only plausible way for me to communicate with God directly,” says Prasad. Born in Bangalore, the artiste, strongly believes that through music he will be able to achieve a higher understanding of life and existence.
In 1979, Ramanatha Rao and Nagaveni were devastated on learning that their son would never lead a normal life. All hopes lost, the family soon enrolled young Maruthi Prasad in the Shree Ramana Maharishi Academy for the Blind.
This provided the youngster the perfect ambience to nurture his musical talent. “I trained under several eminent musicians including the late Chintanapalli Suryanarayana Rao, Rajashree Arvind and Lalitha Panthulu . Currently, I am training under Gana Kalashree Dr T S Sathyavathi. For the past 16 years, I have dedicated my entire life to music. It is in my blood.
I feel extremely blessed to have chosen this path and I have never let my disability deter my spirits in anyway,” says the artiste who also adds that every person whether disabled or not should pursue his or her dreams and never give up.
Apart from giving concerts in various parts of the world, Prasad also keeps himself busy by teaching the nuances of classical music at a government high school in Juganahalli.
Having trained children for the past 10 years, he urges that the future generation will keep the tradition alive and continue to pursue a career in music.
However, the artiste refuses to believe that classical music is a dying art form and insists that the genre is thriving.
According to him, music is by far one of the most powerful forms of communication and has the ability to bring about changes on a massive scale.
“During the Haridasa and Purandaradasa era (the Bhakthi Movement), music was all about instilling a sense of responsibility.
Their work is a clear example of how music can have themes of social relevance,” he opines. Indian classical music is known for its intricate yet rigid structure.
With scores of musicians experimenting with classical and eccentric sounds, the dissolution of musical barriers is imminent. However, with fusion music, the artiste feels that not many musicians have been able to capture the soul of the genre.
“Indian classical music has a solid foundation. Its structure is extremely strong. I believe fusion is still entangled in the wheels of confusion. Musicians need to have a sound understanding of different genres to produce a distinctive sound.
With respect to classical music, very few musicians like Pandit Bhimsen Joshi and Dr Balamurali Krishna have done complete justice to jugalbandhi (fusion) in Carnatic and Hindustani music,” says the musician.
So what’s next for this musician? “My dream is to sing in every part of the world but more than anything I really wish that my students turn out to be great artistes, that’s all,” signs off Prasad.