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Tuesday, December 01, 2020

Margazhi Kutcheri Season 2019: Top artistes to look out for

From Bombay Jayashri to KJ Yesudas, music-lovers have a lot to look forward to.

Written by Shivani Ramakrishnan | Chennai | December 7, 2019 9:43:46 pm
Aruna Sairam’s lively concerts are very popular with rasikas.

The Margazhi Kutcheri Season 2019 has commenced in Chennai, and rasikas (culture enthusiasts) are heading to the city’s various sabhas (music institutions) for music, dance and instrumental performances by prominent artistes.

READ | Margazhi Kutcheri Season 2019: Everything you need to know

READ | Margazhi Kutcheri Season 2019: List of top Sabhas and events schedule

Here is a list of artistes to watch out for this Margazhi season.

Bombay Jayashri

Bombay Jayashri needs no introduction. A seasoned singer who was born into a musical family, Jayashri is a well-known name in both Carnatic and Hindustani music circles. Besides touring the world for concerts for years now, the singer has also lent her voice as a playback singer in some movies and has composed songs of her own.

Having established her name as a regular performer in the Margazhi season, her concerts draw a huge section of rasikas every year.

Dr K J Yesudas

Dr Kattassery Joseph Yesudas is another musician whose name needs no introduction. A prolific A-lister, Yesudas is a sought-after singer in Carnatic music and devotional circles, besides having lent his vocal expertise as a playback singer for movies in several languages. Rasikas of all age groups throng his sabhas to catch his moving performances, where he weaves the concept of national integration in his compositions.

Yesudas has been a regular face at the Margazhi for years as he delivers lecture demonstrations and concerts at various sabhas in the city.

Sudha Raghunathan

A versatile singer whose performances are sought after by rasikas, Sudha Raghunathan is a prominent musician who has been a regular face at the Margazhi scene since 1990. Having been bestowed with the Kalaimamani award, Sangita Kalanidhi, Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan in the past, she has lent her voice as a playback singer in movies and has collaborated with world-renowned artistes for performances.

Click here for the concert schedule of the singer.

Sikkil C Gurucharan

A sought-after artist during the Margazhi Kutcheri Season, Sikkil C Gurucharan is among the prominent young artistes to watch out for. Hailing from a musical lineage, the All India Radio A-grade artiste has been a regular to the Margazhi scene for years and draws a growing number of rasikas to his performances every year.

The Carnatic singer, along with pianist Anil Srinivasan, has been instrumental in developing a new style, which combines Carnatic music with classical piano.

Dr S Sowmya

Sangita Kalanidhi and Kalaimamani awardee Dr S Sowmya is no stranger to the Margazhi season. The seasoned singer who actively practices and promotes Tamizh Isai (classical and folk music of Tamil Nadu) has been a regular at the Margazhi Kutcheri season concerts since 1984 and has given several performances around the world for years.

The singer has taken on the role of judge in several musical reality talent shows over the years.

Abhishek Raghuram

Hailing from a family of musicians, Abhisek Raghuram is a talented Carnatic singer among the younger generation with a standing of his own. Having been a regular performer during the Margazhi season, the singer has created ripples in the music fraternity with expertise in both vocals and percussion instruments. The singer is sought after by rasikas for his power-packed performances every year.

Aruna Sairam

Any Margazhi concert is incomplete without the lively concerts of Kalaimamani and Padma Shri awardee Aruna Sairam. Sairam performs with an equal mixture of ancient, musical knowledge and light-hearted musical merriment, which appeals to rasikas across generations.

Click here for her concert schedule.

Sanjay Subrahmanyan

A Sangita Kalanidhi recipient, Sanjay Subrahmanyan has carved a niche for himself in the world of Carnatic music. A regular on the Margazhi scene for years, Subrahmanyan has developed a style of Carnatic music that combines tradition with modernity, giving rise to a unique genre that appeals to rasikas of all age groups. The singer has also explored raagas (melodies) which are often not sung in concerts.

Akkarai Sisters

The Akkarai Sisters, S Subhalakshmi and S Sornalatha, are well-known musicians famous for their expertise in both vocals and the violin. The talented duo, born into a musical family, are regular performers during the Margazhi season. Besides giving duet performances, the sisters also accompany other musicians as violinists for their concerts throughout the year.

READ | Akkarai Sisters: ‘Carnatic music is a spontaneous art, not something that can be rehearsed to perfection’

While Subhalakshmi debuted during the season in 1998, her sister Sornalatha joined her a few years later and since then, there has been no looking back.

Ranjani and Gayatri

Any Margazhi season is incomplete without a performance by sisters Ranjani and Gayatri. Having performed together for more than 30 years, the duo are experts in both vocals and violin and and have a status in Carnatic music circles akin to that of rock stars. The sisters began giving concerts during the Margazhi Kutcheri Season since 1997 and have toured the world extensively for concerts over the years.

Their concerts are sought-after for the rich blend of different languages included in the compositions and are a real treat for rasikas.

Click here for their concert schedule.

Kunnakkudi M Balamuralikrishna

Born into a musical family, Kunnakudi M Balamuralikrishna is a prominent singer among the younger generation of Carnatic singers. Blessed with a robust voice and a strong understanding of the nuances of music, Kunnakudi M Balamuralikrishna has created a name for himself in the Carnatic music circle over the years.

Popular among rasikas and sabha organisers, the young singer is sought after for his expertise in rendering korvais (rhythmic compositions) while singing compositions in concert performances.

Trichur Brothers

The Trichur Brothers, Srikrishna Mohan and Ramkumar Mohan are no strangers to the Margazhi season. Hailing from a musical family, the duo have travelled the world extensively for concerts for years and are experts in rendering harmonious laya (rhythm) while singing various compositions during concerts. The brothers have developed a style of music that adheres to the composers of yore and yet brings out their unique style while singing.

On stage, the brothers often experiment with Raaga (musical scale) delineation, a technique which compliments their style of singing and enlivens their concerts.

Malladi Brothers

The Malladi Brothers, Sriram Prasad and Ravi Kumar are a talented duo who hail from a musical family. The concerts of the brothers often highlight both their individuality as singers and the harmonious blend of their robust voices as they render rare compositions of early music composers. Having travelled around the world for concerts, the duo are experts in rendering kritis (a type of Carnatic music composition) of Tygaraja, one of the three musicians who forms the Trinity of Carnatic music.

Neyveli R Santanagopalan

A Grade-A artist with both Doordarshan and All India Radio, Neyveli R Santhanagopalan is a force of his own among the senior artists in Carnatic circles. Celebarated among rasikas for adopting a tradionalist style in rendering classical compositions, his performances often highlight the raagas (melodies) and tonal quality in the compositions. The singer’s concert attire further compliments his traditional approach to music, an ethic which has become inherent to his performances.

P Unnikrishnan

A familiar face during Margazhi concerts in Chennai, P Unnikrishnan has been a regular performer at the festival for years now. Known for experimenting with compositions, Unnikrishnan’s concerts attract a large number of rasikas due to his mellifluous voice and unique style of singing. Besides Carnatic music, the singer has also lent his voice as a playback singer for movies and has rendered several hymns for devotional albums.

The singer has also appeared as a permanent judge on several reality TV music talent shows over the years.

Sid Sriram

Sid Sriram is a music producer and songwriter whose career as a playback singer perhaps overshadows his prowess as a Carnatic singer. Having performed at the Margazhi season for years now, Sid Sriram’s concerts often draw in a huge section of rasikas belonging to the younger generation every year. Blessed with a strong and unique voice, the singer has lent his voice as a playback singer for several tracks in the southern film industries and is most sought-after by music composers.

The singer’s concerts offer a blend of classical music with film music, as the singer croons a few of his tracks from movies towards the end of the Margazhi concerts, thus making his performances a hit every season.

Nithyasree Mahadevan

Hailing from a family of eminent musicians, music composer and singer Nithyasree Mahadevan has been a regular at the Margazhi season concerts for decades. Keeping up with the tradition of her grandparents, the Kalaimamani awardee often sings and popularises several compositions of Papanasam Sivan, besides giving several concerts which are centered around a theme. Besides Carnatic music, the singer has lent her powerful voice as a playback singer for tracks in the Southern film industry.

Having toured the world for concerts, Nithyasree has also been a permanent judge for several reality TV music talent shows over the years.

Carnatica Brothers

The Carnatica Brothers, K N Shashikiran and P Ganesh are no strangers to the Margazhi season. Hailing from a musical lineage, the cousins have built successful careers, both individually and together in the Carnatic music circle over the years. Having toured the world extensively for concerts, the Kalaimamani awardees are among the most sought after musicians every season.

Between the two of them, the Carnatica Brothers have found a niche audience for both music and the Chitravina and have rolled out a music learning app and a 24-hour online Carnatic music radio.

Roja Kannan

A doyenne in the field of Bharatanatyam with a career that spans decades, Roja Kannan’s dance recitals are sought by rasikas every Margazhi season. Hailing from a musical family, her performances offer a harmonious blend of nrittha (limb movement) and abhinaya (expressions) which are inherent to the Kalakshetra style of Bharatanatyam.

An A-grade artist with Doordarshan, the talented Roja Kannan has toured the world extensively for performances and lecture demonstrations during dance festivals and has collaborated with several artists over the years.


Hailing from a family of eminent musicians and actors, danseuse Shobana is no stranger to the Margazhi season. Having given dance recitals around the world for years, the Padma Shri awardee puts up several dance recitals, both solo and dance dramas with students from her dance school, Kalarpana every year. Besides Bharatanatyam, the dancer has had an illustrious career in the film industry, having acted in several Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada, Telugu, Hindi and English movies over the years.

Shobana has also collaborated with eminent musicians and dancers for recitals over the years and has appeared as a judge for a reality TV dance talent show.

The Dhananjayans

Known as ‘the couple from the Vodafone ad’, the Dhananjayans, V P Dhananjayan and Shanta Dhananjayan are the power couple of Bharatanatyam. Doyens in the field of Bharatanatyam, the duo are one of the most accomplished and senior performing artists who take to the stage every Margazhi season. Proponents of the Kalakshetra style of Bharatanatyam, the Padma Bhushan and Kalaimamani awardees are experts in Bharatanatyam, Kathakali and Carnatic music.

With careers that spans several decades, the duo put up several recitals, as a duo and with students from their dance school every year.

Dr. Padma Subrahmanyam

No Margazhi dance recital is complete without a performance by Dr. Padma Subrahmanyam, a doyenne in Bharatanatyam. A proponent of the Vazhuvoor style of Bharatanatyam, the seasoned dancer also composes the music for her dance productions and lends her voice as the singer for recitals by students from her dance school. Having produced several thematic dance productions for years, Padma Subrahmanyam has researched extensively on the musical aspects of folk songs from Tamil Nadu and dance sculpture in Indian temples.

The Padma Shri and Kalaimamani awardee has toured the world extensively for dance recitals, both solo and as a part of her dance school, Nrityodaya, where she teaches the various aspects of Bharatanatyam which are important for a performing artist.

Shashank Subramanyam

Grammy-nominated flutist, Shashank Subramanyam is a sought-after instrumentalist every Margazhi season. The youngest recipient of the Sangeet Natak Akademi’s senior award, Shashank Subramanyam has toured the world extensively for performances and has collaborated with eminent musicians for several scintillating performances.

The Kalaimamani awardee has been a regular at the Margazhi season concerts for years and has a niche audience who throng the sabhas every year to listen to the talented flutist.

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