If there is anything that has influenced me the most, it is music. Music is a precious gift to humankind; it is the language of our souls. It is humbling to see the various genres, emotions, and meanings music is capable of. My musical journey is an infinite path with no end because music has no boundaries. For me, music isn’t just singing or playing the violin, it is an integral part of my life. Music is so vast that its youth is evergreen; so is my love for it.
Music ran in my family for a long time, tracing back to my great grandfather, Brahmasri (Award) Srivanjiyam Ramachandra Bhagavathar. He was a legend in the field of Namasankeerthanam, the art of singing the Lord’s praise in the form of hymns. Currently, I am learning Namasankeerthanam from Ramachandra Bhagavathar’s direct disciple: Brahmasri (Award) Udayalur K. Kalyanaraman. My mother, Smt. Uma Sivakumar, disciple of Smt. Lalitha Shivakumar teaches Indian Classical Carnatic singing and my father, Dr. Pitchumani Sivakumar, disciple of Sri. Guruvayur Dorai is a mridangam (Indian drum) teacher. Together, my parents have been running their music school: Hamsanadam School of Music, for the past 22 years, teaching over 500 students.
My first guru (teacher) was my mother, whom I started learning from at the age of 3. Briefly, I learned from Sri. A. S. Murali, Smt. Rajarajeshwari Bhat, and Smt. Sankari Krishnan. From the age of 9, I have been under the tutelage of Sangeeta Kalanidhi (Award) Sri Neyveli Santhanagopalan. I have been performing concerts in India and locally for more than 8 years. I have also participated and won prizes in numerous competitions worldwide.
SRUTI is a non-profit organization in Philadelphia promoting Indian Classical Carnatic music and dance. My parents have been involved in the organization as board members and supporters for over 20 years. I was exposed to all the concerts and artists since my stroller years. As a toddler, I would listen to every concert from start to end sitting on the floor coloring or sketching, and it soon become a habit to attend all of the concerts. Eventually, I was able to identify “ragams” and started writing the song list of each concert in a journal I maintained exclusively for that, both to keep record of them and to expand my knowledge and awareness of the myriad compositions and possibly learn them one day. Now, I have the great honor and privilege to play tambura (pitch instrument) on stage for almost all of SRUTI’s concerts.
When I’m not singing, you can find me doing something musical like playing the Indian or Western Violin.