Did you know: junior Arjun Subramaniam sings Carnatic music


Courtesy of Arjun Subramaniam

by Anika Rajamani, Reporter

Since he was six years old, Arjun Subramaniam (11) has been singing Carnatic music. Tomorrow, all the time and work he has put into his passion will be displayed in his first two and a half hour concert.

When his parents introduced him to this style of music, Arjun began to take classes from a local teacher. Carnatic music is an Indian classical genre that originated from the southern parts of India. As his passion grew, he advanced from singing different variations of the basic notes to full length songs.

“I think singing is something beyond speaking so there are things that you can express when you sing that can’t when you are just talking,” Arjun said.

At eleven, Arjun switched to a more professional local teacher who sparked an interest to pursue singing as a career. Five years ago, Arjun decided that he needed an expert teacher from India who could really develop his voice. This is when he started learning with Sugandha Kalamegham.

Sugandha is a renowned singer known in India for her deep, powerful voice. She now teaches and performs. Since his teacher lives in India, Arjun learns from her through Skype. He spends his entire summer in India learning from his teacher.

“There’s a certain value of face-to-face learning which you can’t capture from Skype, so I go to India every summer,” Arjun said.

Arjun feels that even though he does not have the opportunity to see her and sing in front of her every week, he expresses his gravitude to have such a teacher who has been such an amazing mentor for him.

At Harker, Arjun is part of Downbeat, one of the upper school’s choirs. He sees the contrast between the Indian classical music outside of school and the western music he performs at Harker.

Arjun will first perform for two and a half hours tomorrow. He will be performing with two live musicians, a violinist and mridangist, a musician who plays the Indian drums.

“It would mean that I have achieved some skill in improvising on stage right on the spot,” Arjun said.

He looks forward to displaying his talent to the audience. “I look forward to performing in front of a lot of people, for the people to enjoy my music, and to have the audience like my presence on stage.”

“Carnatic music has something deep about it, something really fascinating about it that’s really different from western music,” Arjun said.