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December, And It’s Raining Carnatic

The cultural harvest season of old Madras lives and thrives in a new age. Two sisters on their journey.

December, And It’s Raining Carnatic
This Way To Margazhi |
December, And It’s Raining Carnatic
outlookindia.com
2016-12-16T17:39:25+05:30

During their school days in Bombay where they grew up, the two sisters would visit Madras on a pilgrimage of sorts around Christmas vacation every year in the 1980s. In the rain-cooled Tamil month of Margazhi, the land of their forebears would see them in a breathless but pleasant frenzy—hopping sabhas, chasing down the masters, soaking in as much music as possible. Today, Ranjani-Gayatri are residents of the southern metropolis, where yet another ‘December season’ keeps them busier than usual as performers.

In their forties now, the siblings are accomplished vocalists. On stage, their tryst with Carnatic began as instrumentalists. In fact, their first brush with the Margazhi festival was a 1988 violin recital—two years after they debuted in a temple close to their Matunga home back in Bombay, having spent their childhood years learning from T.S. Krishnaswami Iyer. Mridangam exponent Karaikudi Mani spotted the two talented little sisters, and introduced them to the katcheri circuit in his resident city that had become the hub of Carnatic music by...

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