Every musician is a part of an ever-changing process in the field of classical music. Learning should never cease and that is the belief of a true musician. Vocalist R Suryaprakash is one such artist who believes that music is all-encompassing. He will be performing a few compositions popularised by Madurai Mani Iyer on Sat Oct 13 at Powai Fine Arts.
Suryaprakash was initiated into the world of music by his uncle Tirukkodikaval V Rajamani. He was trained by several teachers, but the guru whose training helped catapult him into the formidable and vibrant world of Carnatic music was the well-known vocalist TV Sankaranarayanan, nephew and disciple of the famous musician Madurai Mani Iyer. Suryaprakash believes that his journey has had its share of struggles but the combination of hard work and talent has helped him. “It took [me] about 15 years to make a name,” Suryaprakash said. There were times when he put in eight hours of practice daily. Unfortunately, a busy schedule interspersed with long travels and a full-time job at the Reserve Bank of India, does not afford him the luxury of time for gruelling rehearsal sessions.
Suryaprakash believes that “there is a need to spend time thinking and musing about music. This is necessary to get the right perspective and conviction.” This approach does reflect in his performances where his versatility, creativity and understanding of the subtle nuances of the melody are well-depicted. He believes in preserving and presenting the traditional aspects of music. In addition to that, to interpret traditional systems in a creative way and without compromises on classicism. “Classicism should not be presented in a bland way. Tradition should be preserved and presented as audiences should know what the tradition is. But we should embellish it,” he said.
A part of the enriching process for Suryaprakash has also come from performing with stalwarts as accompanists in his various concerts. He has performed with well-known mridangam players –Umayalpuram Sivaraman, TK Murty, Tiruvarur Bhakthavatsalam, Srimushnam Rajarao and violin maestros – MS Anantharaman, Sikkil Bhaskaran, VV Ravi and MA Sundareswaran.
Suryaprakash’s musical prowess has been winning him accolades since he was a school boy. It was only fitting that he did his post-graduate studies in Indian music from the University of Madras. Suryaprakash has also composed lyrics and music for three dance ballets in Australia based on the theme of Saivite (those who regard Shiva asw the supreme being) saints such as “Naalvar”, “Kannappa Nayana” and “Sayee”. “I have also composed a few thillanas (rhythmic pieces) and kritis. I don’t compulsively compose, but these came naturally to me while I was thinking of the ragas and gained appreciation of the senior musicians,” he said.
He has released many albums such as Shining Pearls Of Swati Tirunal, Legendary Melodies, Maestro’s Popular Melodies, Shanmatha Sunaadam of Dikshithar, Live at Bharat Sangeet Utsav 2007, Consonance, Raagangale…Paadalgale and Madhura Gaanam.
In the upcoming concert, he will be accompanied on the violin by MR Gopinath, on the mridangam by Rajesh Srinivasan and on the ganjira (percussion instrument) by NY Easwaran.