CHENNAI: Who will know it better than Carnatic vocalist Shubhashri Ramachandran that taking a legacy forward at a young age is an uphill task? While Shubhashri, the daughter of Sangita Kalanidhi and Padma Bhushan Trissur Ramachandran and Kalaimamani Charumathi concedes that she can’t escape comparisons, she also says that it comes with one huge advantage. “They have set high standards for me. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be pushing myself so much,” she says.
With a line-up of kutcheris in the ongoing music festival across sabhas, Shubhashri is, however, keen to make a mark of her own. Training under her parents and the legendary D K Pattamal, Shubhashri also trained in Hindustani music under veteran vocalist Meera Savoor.
Performing from the age of 14 and at the Margazhi festival from the age of 16, Shubhashri calls the music festival the most important season for an artiste. Part of the GNB-MLV style of music, Shubhashri has chosen a few ragas that are rarely heard in the classical music circuit. “I have chosen ones like Andolika, Malavi and Khamas. Apart from ashtapathis, along with compositions by Purandaradasa and Muthuswami Dikshitar, I am also performing bhajans, thumris and abhangs. It is purely classical and I am not making a major portion of it hindustani. Rasikas still want a complete carnatic music concert,” she says.
The vocalist, who is in the sub-singer category of artistes, adds that though the space has increased for young artistes like her, there is a fall in the number of audiences as well. “I have grown through the years as an artiste. The space for artistes has definitely increased, but with that, the number of rasikas has come down. Earlier, sabhas were restricted to Mylapore, now it has gone as far as Nanganallur and Chrompet,” she adds.
Highly influenced by the music of M L Vasanthakumari, GNB, Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer, U Srinivas and P Unnikrishnan, Shubhashri says that she is in no hurry to reach stardom. “It is all a matter of time. You never know which artiste will click. Ten years from now, I will know where I am,” she adds.