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    Legendary vocalist, Aruna Sairam takes the stage for a spiritual performance this weekend.

    Padma Shri Aruna Sairam got back to India earlier this month, after three weeks of jet-setting across Atlanta, Cleveland, San Diego, and Seattle. The Carnatic vocalist performed in Agartala, and Mizoram earlier this week. And tomorrow, she will sing in the city for a musical evening hosted by Nandalala Seva Samithi Trust. Here, she will sing songs in reverence of Lord Krishna. Chennai, and Delhi come next on her busy schedule.So much travelling will bog anybody down, and Sairam is no exception. “After spending almost a month in the cold in America, I am trying to readjust to the Indian summer. I am still in a state of fatigue, but as soon as you get home (Chennai), and get an oil massage done, you get better (laughs). The third day, you have to go out, and work.An artiste can’t say he/she is in a state of exhaustion for too long,” Sairam tells us, breaking down her music calendar for us, “December is the most important month for a Carnatic singer. We all get together at Chennai for the Madras Music Season. Then we take a break until spring, and start doing shows in the US, or Europe.”

    Calendar art
    The music exponent insists that an artiste must learn to destress. She shares, “I haven’t scheduled concerts in May yet. I hope to engage in other creative pursuits for a change. I like to take two-three such breaks in a year. And though it sounds cliched, an artiste must have a daily routine. Until you are disciplined, you can’t handle this profession, and its lifestyle. Every morning, for two hours, I practice
    pranayam, and spend time with myself in solitude, to rejuvenate myself.” She also loves to read books, watch movies, listen to different genres of music, and cook. “I like spending time with friends. It’s good to be around people with positive vibes. It’s therapeutic,” says Sairam, whose compositions are known to be steeped in the expression of bhava.She has another piece of advice for budding singers. “Give Carnatic music a shot, and don’t hesitate. But do give it time, to develop consistency,” says Sairam, who loves interacting with her young audience
    during tours. In her Cleveland concert, she invited a girl on stage to perform. “Her voice was so fresh. The audience was in raptures. Moments like these are the signs of continuity. Long after we, today’s veterans, are gone, I know the music will continue,” she shares.

    Now and then
    Sairam is regarded as the Music Ambassador of India, for taking South Indian classical music across the globe, and collaborating with international performers. This June, she will fly to California to perform at the Ojai Festival, becoming the first Indian Carnatic vocalist to participate in the 69-year-old contemporary music fest. With Ojai, her music will find another set of listeners. She recalls the best moment
    of “her mission to popularise Carnatic music”, “When I first performed in Paris, 20-25 years ago, only 15 people had come to my concert. With time, these numbers increased, and once, I got to perform for 2,500 people there. So from 15 to 2,500, it has been a good journey.”
    April 23. At Chowdiah Memorial Hall, Malleswaram. 6 pm. Tickets (`45-`1,000) on bookmyshow.com

    — Barkha Kumari

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