My meeting with senior guru T R Subramaniam in Pittsburg was the real life changer for me, says noted vocalist Vasundra Rajagopal, who had migrated to India from Canada, along with her family including her daughter, an upcoming artiste.
Vasundra, who held high posts in various multinational companies, including Bell Canada in Toranto and United States Agency for international Developments (USAID) in New Delhi, gave up her professional management career to devote complete attention to carnatic music.
“Professor TRS used to tell me if I am serious about music I should be in India. This prompted me to move back to India,” she says.
Vasundra, who is currently under the guidance of vocalists P S Narayanaswamy and Suguna Varadacharry, had the distinction of learning from Gana Ratna Gopala Iyer ( a descendant of the illustrious composer Koteeswara Iyer). She extensively trained under Sangeetha Kalaacharya T R Subramaniam and the late Calcutta Krishnamoorthy.
She says,“A few years ago, I presented a programme for prisoners on Paasurappaddi Ramayanam, a classical work in literature by Periavachan Pillai, in 33 ragas set to tune by me with expert commentary by Ubaya Vedantha Devarajanswamy. The erudite commentary interspersed with music was very well-received by the prisoners, who sought clarification from us. It was an unforgettable experience for me when the programme was beamed across all prisons in Tamil Nadu, where over 14,000 inmates watched it.”
The A-grade artiste of All India Radio and a gold medalist, who won the first prize for three consecutive years in the inter ministry music competition, has many feathers in her cap. She was awarded the outstanding woman award by VTI and was recognised for her extraordinary talent by the Canada Council Grant for Advanced Training in Carnatic Music in 1992.
She has been part of programmes that were organised to raise funds for the shelter home for battered women in Toranto. Her efforts were appreciated by the then Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney. The well-known singer in the sabha circuits is very modest, when she adds, “My only aim in life is to propitiate god through hymns and seek his blessings for the welfare of humanity.”
She adds, “I am focusing on a series of programmes titled ‘Isai Urai’ with both commentary and music by me. What I cherish the most is my current focus on tevaram, thiruvembavai and pasurams.”
She adds that close to three lakh song CDs on Mahalakshmi have been distributed free of cost on the occasion of Akshaya Trithiya and that her other album on ‘Maangalya sthavam’ among others were well-received. “The encomiums and blessings I received are certainly unforgettable,” she says.