CHENNAI: He is a versatile individual impelled by an urge for genuine music and to achieve musical versatility. This electronics and telecommunication engineer, who took music as full time career after a short stint as an engineer, is none other than musician Rajkumar Bharathi — the great grandson of renaissance poet Mahakavi Subramania Bharathi. It is said that Mahakavi Bharathi had a tremendous liking for singing. Perhaps, the almighty granted him the wish to be close to his passion, in the form of his great grandson.
As a noted musician, he was awarded many awards of excellence including the Ganakala Bharathy award, bestowed by Hindu-American temple and cultural center, New Jersey. He was also titled Sangeetha Sudhakara by his holiness of Sringeri Mutt.
Needless to say, he has excelled as a composer too. Many audio CDs, thematic presentations, dance ballets and fusion projects stand to his credit. He had the unique opportunity of rendering all the 18 chapters of Srimad Bhagwad Gita.
Rajkumar talks about tuning many of Bharathi’s lesser-known compositions in classical carnatic forms and his composition for the tele-serial Ramana Oli that depicts the life history of Bhagavan Ramana Maharishi.
As a music director, he regales the audience by deftly handling the entire process of music production — from composing, music direction, orchestrating and delivering the finished music.
He recalls being the lead Indian singer along with Sharon Rose, the widely respected black American singer, in the adventurous venture Asian Mafia — a daring interplay between Indian and pop singers. His joy knew no bounds when he was nominated for the prestigious Lester Horton Dance award — a dance ballet for the center for performing arts (University of California).
Another unforgettable experience was composing Vadya Vaibhavam for Sri Ganapathy Sachidananda Swamy, conducting with 108 people orchestra and Laya-Madhura-Mrudanga Yagna with 108 mrudanga artistes from all over India. He fondly recalls his participation in a special music programme to mark the 85th birthday of Sri Sathya Sai Baba.
As a lyricist and translator, his translation of the book Timeless in Time, based on Sri Ramana Maharishi’s life and teachings, received encomiums of high order. He has various dance compositions to his credit.
He has composed for various artists, both from India and abroad, as well as with renowned dancers Alamervalli and Priyadarshini Govind. A few of his memorable experiences include composing for dance, starting from Sangam poetry and experimenting music for an English poem Vigil.
He says that as a teacher and visiting faculty for carnatic music in Bharathiya Vidya Bhavan, London, and at Tamil music center for London, he derives the satisfaction of serving the cultural fraternity.