Vani Jairam's workshop in Hyderabad: an experience


Reported by Mridula Anand

In early December 2011, there was a unique one week workshop in Hyderabad by the famed singer Vani Jairam. Vani Jairam spoke briefly about her prior training in Hindustani music by Ustad Abdul Rehman Khan of Patiala gharana where she assimilated the intricacies of the thumri, bhajan and ghazal singing..

Known for her mellifluous voice that has immortalized the lyrics of innumerable poets like Tulsidas, Kabir, Surdas, Meera, Jayadeva, Thukaram, Annamayya, Purandaradasa and Bharathiar, she was the recipient of the president of India National award for the years 1976, 1980 and 1992.

Vani Jairam is also synonymous with some unforgettable film songs which fetched her 5 awards including the Tansen award.

When she came to Hyderabad at the behest of the Kala Foundation, it was every music lover’s treat to attend the week long workshop. The celebrated singer P. Susheela welcomed her good friend to the Pearl City and the event was flagged off by Harshavardhan Reddy who has been a patron of the arts.

The event was plagued by suboptimal sound systems and a continuous problem with the mikes. Along with this, were a few hiccups between office bearers of the Foundation and rasikas compounded the problems on the first day. But the organizers soon gott together and the rest of the workshop was hassle free and extremely fruitful.

Each day, Vani Jairam focused on one important aspect of music, voice training etc. Day one involved voice training and modalities with the attendees learning a song in ragam kalyani. The next day, the talk revolved around Carnatic music and a song in ragam hindolam was taught. Vani Jairam made sure every person in the audience sang the songs properly and took great pains to correct subtleties.

Day three dealt with Hindustani music and a lively bhajan was the focus of the day. She then reiterated the nuances of devotional music with a lovely bhajan. The audience was moved to tears following her rendition of the classic Ethirugananu by Badrachala Ramdas in raga Naadhanamakriya. There was not a single dry eye left in the audience. Such was the power of the sixty year old singer!

The next day she reminisced about her life in playback singing. Day six was very important for the budding singers. Dealing with voice modulation, Vani explained the intricacies of singing before a mike.

The final day was an exciting one for all the participants. Giants in the music world such as Akkineni Nageswara Rao adorned the stage.

A well conducted workshop, enthusiastic participants, mellifluous songs, and the goodness of Vani Jairam made everyone’s day at Hyderabad.

Mridula Anand is Artistic Director, Silambam Dance school, Hyderabad.