My Life History | My Education | Life after Marriage | Sikkil Bani

Smt. MSS and Smt Radha Viswanathan:
It was Smt. M.S. patti (as we affectionately call her at home)who made me realise the importance of sruti alignment and its role in concert. Even when my mother use to tell me this aspect, I was never serious, but I always obeyed and followed her advice. Patti made me aware of it. She used to sing saralivarisai in various ragas with long kaarvais along with sruti box. It used to create a vibration in us. I immediately followed this by blowing long kaarvais in flute and staying in par with sruthi in each note for at least 30 secs. It was Smt. Radha Viswanathan who taught me to tune the tambura, its intricate adjustment technique etc. I owe them a lot. After I started giving regular concerts, I understood the significance of both amma's and patti's words in connection with sruti alignment.

Sri Lalgudi G. Jayaraman

After our venture with violin venu veena ensemble, I had the opportunity to learn more pAdAntharam, more perfection, more planning and the intricacies of swara playing and manodharma from both Lalgudi mama and Vijayalakshmi. This was a very great experience and an eye opener in my musical career. I then developed the art of melody in my music.

My Gurus
Padmasree Sangeetha Kalanidhis Smt.Kunjumani and Smt.Neela:

Smt.Kunjumani (My aunt) was trained on the flute by her paternal uncle Azhiyur Sri Narayanaswamy Iyer from an early age. Her father Azhiyur Sri Natesa Iyer, a great Mridangist trained her in the intricacies of laya. She gave her first performance at the age of nine and was awarded the title Venu Gana Pravina by the royal court of Mysore in 1942. My mother, Smt. Neela learnt the flute along with her sister. She gave her first concert at the age of seven. She was referred to as the Apoorva Balakrishna Avatar by Justice, the late, ASP Ayyar in 1950.

Sisters have come a long way (for more than four decades) and their success is based on aesthetic values. They continue to follow the great tradition left behind by eminent flautists like Sri. Sarabha Sastry, Palladam Sanjeeva Rao, Flute Mali to mention a few.

Sikkil Sisters are one of the few great flautists of India. They are the only well known 'Duo' in the field of flute. Sikkil Sisters have set very high standards and have achieved the pinnacle of technical perfection in their rendition. Music critics and musicologists have great regard for them and many have commend their innate sruthi and laya sense, expansive manodharma, excellent tutelage in the classical idioms and blending of tempos as a mark of their great vidwan.

The Sikkil Sisters taught me the unique style (Sikkil style) of rendering the Thuthukkara technique, perfection in kriti rendition, balancing lakshana and lakshya aspects of ragas and most importantly, understanding audience psychology. One of the highlights of their style is the emphasis on gamakas which makes it a "gayaki"(quasi vocal) style.

I consider it a fortune to be born into this family.

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