A therapy called rhythm

Believing that music is a divine art form, which when clubbed with spirituality can do wonders, Hindustani classical vocalist Lavanya Sundram, who has incorporated aspects of healing into her work, says, “Music is Naad Yog, and sound creates an impact on the body and the mind. A combination of different ragas, insightful lyrics and profound prayers that come from a deep connection with divinity creates tremendous energy and can be instrumental in healing frayed nerves.”

Hailing from a family of musicians, Sundram started training for Carnatic vocal music when she was three years old. She performs Hindustani and Carnatic vocal music, Bhajans, Kirtans and Ghazals. She stresses that the feeling of love and peace is the essence in any kind of music. “And love is pure and divine. Be it any genre of music, I connect with my heart and sing with immense love, devotion and peace.”

Although her training started very early, it was in grade IX that she started feeling very strongly towards music. Sundram’s grandmother, her first guru, felt she should focus on vocals. “Later, I felt very strongly that music had an important role to play in my life and I must give back what I have inherited.”

Looking back at her journey, she feels blessed to have had encouraging gurus. “They groomed me into a mature musician and teacher, and have taught me how to give and share. Lovely opportunities to learn and perform, compete and grow have come my way.”

Talk to her about not enough platforms for young classical musicians to showcase their talent, and Sundram feels that music must be for the sake of music, and not as a means to achieve something else. “That is true sadhana. When one does this, immense opportunities come knocking for the artist to perform. This art form is not for entertainment I have always felt that one should keep focusing on taleem, keep growing and improving his/her.”

Stressing that it was important to give all possible support to the classical arts, the vocalist, who was recently part of HCL Concerts’ Baithak, says, “HCL is doing a commendable job by supporting and nurturing music. We definitely need more organisations to come forward.”

For Sundram, the lockdown was a period to develop herself and introspect the role of music in her life. “As musicians, performing before an audience is an ecstatic feeling — it keeps us alive and motivated. I have really missed the live concerts and I am eagerly looking forward to getting back.”

(Sukant Deepak can be reached at sukant.d@ians.in)