Top ranking Carnatic vocalists, Priya Sisters - Haripriya and Shanmukha Priya received the 'Isai Peroli' title from Kartik Fine Arts in December 2004. The sisters have been singing for more than a decade and are continuing their training under Prof T.R.Subrahmanyam. At their Adyar Residence, Chnnai, the sisters spoke to Bhavadhaarini. R of KutcheriBuzz.
You have been conferred the 'Isai Peroli' title this year. How does it feel?
Shanmukhapriya: It is a prestigious award. Every award is a recognition, an incentive to work harder and every award makes us more responsible.
Haripriya: We feel very happy, we feel encouraged to do better.
How did you choose music as your career?
Haripriya: We were initiated into music from a very young age; our father Subbaraman is a musician himself. We were encouraged well at home and music was a part of our routine. We trained under Smt. Radha and Smt. Jayalakshmi later. Taking up the music career just happened to us, it was not planned ahead. We are happy we have been singing.
Your other hobbies?
Haripriya: I play the electric guitar and mandolin. Shanmukhapriya: I love to do interior decoration and both of us like to shop for sarees and accessories.
Do you practise together regularly and how do you plan your concerts?
We practise every day together; we compulsorily sing for at least an hour and prefer to sing in the evenings than the mornings. When we have concerts we take a couple of hours to plan our kutcheri and follow it almost. We know what will go well with a particular audience, so we decide each concert according to the rasikas. They like the bhajans and abhangs, which we include at the end of the concert.
Your favourite ragams?
We like all the Ghana ragas and those that have a good scope for raga alapana.
What does music mean to you?
To us, music is for our soul, it is the highest art form; Music is itself a meditation and it makes you forget everything around. We have been enjoying ourselves when we perform and have always been sincere listeners too.
What do you think is the future of Carnatic music?
Carnatic Music will remain the same, the format of performing will also be the same, it has sustained for centuries and we are sure that the western influences or fusion or any other lighter music varieties cannot disturb the classicism. There is always a chaste taste in the rasikas.
Your suggestions to music learners?
'Practice makes a man perfect'. Without practice none can do wonders on stage. A perfect practice need not be for hours together, just a crisp singing would do. The proper understanding of the voice and the in-born abilities are to be concentrated and nourished.
You can write to the Priya Sistrs at email@example.com