Sandhya is an exponent of traditional Carnatic music art form. A graded artiste of All India Radio and Doordarshan, Sandhya strives to preserve her genre's unique beauty and perpetuate the ancient tradition, while continuing to innovate within the boundaries. She holds a Masters degree with distinction in Music and Sanskrit.
Sandhya's special bond with Carnatic music
A vocalist and violinist by profession, she was introduced to this divine art at a very young age by her beloved mother Usha. Usha had a very keen ear and deft musical sense but could not become a performer. This unflinching desire became a driving force for her to achieve what she could not and live her dreams through her daughter.
If it is her mother who is to be credited for her orientation towards music, it is her father who made her understand and realize the importance of inseparable relationship between Sàmaveda and Carnatic music. Her father, an earnest seeker of Vedic knowledge, has authored a few books related to ÷àstras. He had made her hear, at a young age, the melodious sàman music set on the seven musical notes sa ri ga ma pa dha ni sung by the expert Sàma-÷rautins. Throughout her childhood the frequent presence of Sanskrit scholars who used to stay with her father, spurred her curiosity for the ancient language, ultimately leading her to pursue a post-graduate degree in the divine language.
Music was a profound influence and the focal point of Sandhya's life. She felt naturally drawn towards this oldest system of music. Years of single-minded dedication and unrelenting practice helped fortify her foundation with uncompromising emphasis on ÷ruti, laya and the theoretical dictates of Carnatic music. Sandhya's steadfast adherence to authentic pàñhàntaram defines her musical style, with an optimal balance between tradition and innovation.
Expertise in both music and Sanskrit allowed Sandhya to gain a comprehensive understanding of the content of kçtis composed by the great Trimårtis and the like, helping her emote deeper and better. Learning Pàõinian Sanskrit grammar helped Sandhya in identifying where not to split a word in the sàhitya. Often if a compound word is not split properly in Sanskrit, it leads to an alternate or sometimes, even an opposite meaning. It followed that she gives equal importance to both sàhitya and sàïgãta in her renditions.
Today, as a top-class musician, Sandhya strives to preserve her genre's unique beauty and perpetuate the ancient tradition, while continuing to innovate within the boundaries.
Gurus, the beacon light in Sandhya's musical journey
Sandhya had the good fortune to learn under eminent Gurus as in the Gurukulam setting, right from her formative age. She was fortunate enough to have the most wonderful teachers who were not just musical stalwarts but gentle souls, magnanimous human beings with unparalleled personification of love, sincerity and simplicity. She has had many teachers in her early years - Smt. Nåraõi Raji, Sri. Kalpàthy S. Krishna Iyer, Smt. Rajeswari Swaminathan in the field of vocal and Smt. P. Sowmya, Smt. Meera and Smt. Parvathy Murali for violin.
For a short period of time, Sandhya learnt flute under Sri. K. S. Suryanarayanan of Kalpathy and graduated to concert level bagging several prizes in the state level competitions.
In subsequent years, she came under the tutelage of Professor R. Swaminathan (Govt. Music College, Pàlakkàd), a torch-bearer of the Parår style of violin playing and a disciple of Sri. M. S. Anantharaman. He introduced her to the complicated and finer nuances of playing the violin. The strong theoretical framework came in handy but the technicalities behind the new style called for revisiting the foundation which Sri. Swaminathan did with utmost patience, sincerity, diligence and affection. Under him, she embarked on the beautiful art of violin accompaniment.
Her guru-patnã Smt. Rajeswari Swaminathan was a constant guiding force and encouraged her to pursue Masters in Music, which she completed with highest distinction and first rank.
Another person who played a significant role in influencing her and imbibing in her the value for laya and tàëa was Sri. Kodunthirappully Parameswaran, a disciple of Mçdaïga Vidvàn, Saïgãtakalànidhi, Sri. T. K. Murthy.
Frequent and constant interactions with virtuosos in their respective fields -- vocal, violin, flute, musicology, percussion and Sanskrit, groomed her as a vocalist and violinist adding classicism, authenticity, creativity and soul to her performances.
Smt. Rajeswari Swaminathan
Dr. T. V. Gopalakrishnan
Her ability to follow musicians like a shadow in pitch perfect ÷ruti coupled with creativity enthralled common audience and connoisseurs. At a very young age, her Todi àlàpana at one of her concerts caught the ears of the legendary musician Saïgãtakalànidhi, Padmabhåshan, Dr T. V. Gopalakrishnan. Known for his ability to identify talents he asked Sandhya to come to Chennai to groom her musical skills.
Dr TVG immediately recognized her, addressing her, as Todi Sandhya during a chance meeting after many years at the Chennai Music Academy. This marked another journey with Dr TVG who honed her skills further rendering an aesthetic manifestation to her learning. He influenced her way of thinking and presenting music which was not just restricted to playing the violin but the whole nine yards.
The Musiri School of music, their discipline and niraval rendition had always fascinated her and she embarked upon a musical journey with a great musician who had influenced her very deeply - the legendary Smt. Suguna Varadachari. Some fruitful years at Chennai with such stalwarts gave her musical journey a very meaningful thrust and contributed to the way she evolved to this day.
Accolades and accomplishments
Smt. Suguna Varadachari
As a student, Sandhya bagged several State level and National level prizes for being an outstanding student in Arts. This includes Kalàtilakam award instituted by the Kerala Government, Rotary Club award, Kalpathy Rathotsava Committee Award for Excellence and awards by other Music Sabhas across India and the US.
She became a graded artiste of All India Radio and Doordarshan at a very young age. She was awarded a B-High in the first audition itself at the All India Radio.
She bagged the scholarships instituted by Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) continuously for five years. She has had opportunities to perform at several prestigious venues in India and the United States including the Consulate of India, ICCR India, the All India Radio, Doordarshan and Cleveland Thyagaraja âràdhana.
She considers it as a blessing to have performed before the âcharyas ørã Kànchi Kàmakoti Pãñham, ørã øringeri øàradà Pãñham, Chinmaya Mission and ârsha Vidyà Gurukulam. Her performances are featured in leading newspapers and major television channels in India.
Getting initiation from the artistes of Kerala, she got opportunities to perform with great musicians like Padmabhåshan T. V. Gopalakrishnan, Padmabhåshan R. K. Srikanthan, Saïgãtakalàchàrya Suguna Varadachari, Guru Karaikkudi Mani, T. V. Vasan, Saïgãtakalànidhi Sudha Raghunathan, Saïgãtakalàchàrya Seetha Rajan, Vishakha Hari, P. Unnikrishnan, Kunnakkudi Balamuralikrishna, M. K. Sankaran Namboothiri, Sreevalsan J. Menon, Sikkil Gurucharan, Carnatica Brothers, Priya Sisters and Bombay S. Jayashree to name a few.
She has collaborated with many classical dancers in their productions and also composed several pieces for dance dramas. She has performed fusion concerts with Hindustani musicians and artistes from other genres.
Building a legacy
Sandhya firmly believes in handing over the tradition to the next generation, she started teaching a committed group of students under the banner Saüskçtasaïgãtam School of Music. As the name of the school suggests Saïgãtam and Saüskçtam (Sanskrit) are inseparable forces in her life and she wants to impart the beauty of Kàvyas, Nàtakas, Itihàsas, Puràõas coupled with the beautiful Kãrtanas, Kçtis and other musical forms to enthusiastic aspirants. She holds workshops and summer camps for aspirants to share whatever she has learnt from her Gurus.
She dedicates this website and the music in it as a humble offering to her beloved parents and to all her revered Gurus and finally,