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

This style has evolved in a very unique way in the sense that when the song is rendered on the flute, every syllable, and every word in the song will be felt by the rasika. To create this bani or style, full credit goes to my grandfather (thatha) (Sri.Natesa Iyer –a reputed Mridanga Vidwan) He used to sing phrases in different ragas, songs etc and Neela used to exactly repeat the same on flute in spite of least knowing how to place the fingers according to the tune. The only thing she knew was to reproduce the same sound with emphasis as in vocal music.

Thatha would correct her till she attained perfection in that particular phrase. Every evening, he used to ask Neela to have a practice session with Mridanga and violin. For violin, they had Sikkil Balu who grew up with them. The sisters who then started performing as duo, later developed the same with special thuthukara technique.

This style may sound easy to hear but when it comes to playing, it is very intricate and inter-woven with gamakas. One gets the exact feel of hearing vocal music . Another important aspect in this bani is the laya gnyanam (keen sense of rhythm) Thatha has imparted to his daughters.

The unique thuthukara technique along with its gamakas comprises the Sikkil bani. Their repertoire, planning, style of execution, audience psychology and their presentation during a concert has carved a niche for Sikkil Sisters in the hearts of rasikas.

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