Not only born into a musical family, Vocalist and Mridangam player K Veenadhari is also married into a musical family. She has the sapta swaras running in her house all the time. Speaking exclusively to Natyahasini, Veenadhari shares that she takes Carnatic classes for students, but does play mridangam as per the requirement, concert based. The Hyderabad-based Veenadhari is part of the Mumbai-based Vidwan Anuradha Pal band and has toured the world for performances. She has also received appreciation from great Vidwan Madurai TN Srinivasan for playing the percussion.
Born as the third sister of Sangeetha Sisters – Sangeethakala and Rajyalakshmi, Veenadhari learnt Carnatic vocal along with her sisters. But her fascination for the Mridangam was so deep even as a four-year-old. “My maternal grandfather Mridangam Vidwan late Sri Sudershana Chary would visit our house to meet my grandfather Sangeetha Vidwan late Sri K. Kodandapani every Sunday. It was then that I begged my grandfather Sri Sudershana Chary to teach me mridangam. After a lot of requests, he had agreed. So, I would take classes every Sunday,” she recalls with pride. She adds that being the youngest member in the family, she was very hyperactive and music being in the genes playing the Mridangam came easily to her.
First Performance: Veenadhari says that her first performance with the Mridangam was at the age of seven years. “There was a gap of five years later and I again picked up learning the mridangam in Class VI under Sri K Subramaniam garu. For advance classes, I began learning under Sri Karra Srinivas Rao Garu and continue to do so till date,” she says. For clues and finesse, she follows Guru Sri Karaikudi R Mani.
A B-Grade artist in All India Radio, Hyderabad, Veenadhari has performed Taala Vaadya Kacheri in South Zone Concert, Doordarshan Kendra, Hyderabad. She has also participated in many Live TV shows. One of her memorable concerts is the all women tribute to Smt.MS Subbalakshmi in Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Karthik Fine Arts and Karajar Arangam, Teynapet, Chennai.
Veenadhari, who had her schooling at Tagore High School, passed intermediate from St. Patricks and degree has been a topper throughout. She is a double Masters. She did Masters in Computer Applications from IGNOU and MA in Mridangam from Potti Sreeramulu Telugu University. She also holds a Diploma in Vocals from PSTU. On the secret of acing both academics and arts, Venadhari says: “During college days, I used to do Yoga and meditation. May be this was one of the reasons, I was able to MCA & MA with ease. I have not given up on studies yet. I still have dreams to pursue IAS.”
Love For Maths: After finishing MCA, was she not drawn to the corporate world, the artist says: “Yes, I was. But didn’t take it up. Some of my students’ parents too offered me a part time job. But I had decided to dedicate myself to music. I pursued MCA because I loved Maths.”
When quizzed whether getting hitched to K Srinivas Rao garu, was it love at first sight? Veenadhari says it was an arranged match. “I was pursuing degree then. His parents approached my mother and I also okayed it,” she says. A proud mother of two beautiful daughters – seven-year-old Laya Madhuri and four-year-old Sruthi Madhuri, who are learning Carnatic vocals from her, while the older daughter is learning Violin from Peri Thyagaraju.
The Vocalist & Mridangam player established the Swara Raga institute two years ago to popularise Classical music. “In the fast-paced world, many students want to learn only songs. They should be encouraged,” she says quickly adding that film music songs catch on virally, while classical music doesn’t have that popularity. She says she is open to teach music to all, be it only krithis. “I have students from 6 to 60 years,” she says. The artists says that she has 50 students, mainly from the US, UK studying online, and 10 offline, and most of them are girls.
Also, she says that on a spiritual front, she is attached to the Ramakrishna Math.