Teen prodigy to take to the stage

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TO NDR Pragathi 2 . Pragathi Guruprasad

AFTER successful shows like Pattikada Pattanama: a tribute concert to Sivaji Ganesan; MG Ramachandran, Superstars Nite and AR Rahman Nite, Deepam Productions presents Vijay TV’s Super Singers star, Pragathi Guruprasad, in Amuthum Thenum Nite.

Saturday’s event will feature a selection of Tamil golden oldies in a three-hour programme. The concert will also include local musicians, dancers and singers: Runga Naidoo (a gold medalist of the Tamil Eisteddfod), Kumaran Raman (a graduate of Thamizh University, Thanjavur), Pragalathan Mervin Vadivel (a graduate of Annamali University, Chidambaram) and Mary Naidoo, daughter of the famous Ganesh Maistry of the band Kalaimagal Entertainers of Chatsworth.

Pragathi will also sing a few newer songs and songs from the 1980s to cater for all her fans.

Deepam Productions was established in 1998 to preserve, protect and promote Indian heritage and focuses on South Indian music, arts, dance and literature.

Pragathi hails from a family steeped in music and cultural traditions and the teenage prodigy continues to rise in the playback singing industry and in the world of Indian music.

Born to Guruprasad and Kanaka in Singapore in 1997, Pragathi and her family moved to San Francisco, US, in 1999, where they still reside.

When she performs in South Africa on Saturday, she will have achieved the distinction of performing two genres of Indian music; namely, carnatic (classical) and film music, on all of the continents, at just 16 years old.

Pragathi’s music career began in Singapore when she was just more than a year old. Her parents, who are carnatic connoisseurs and her father, being a carnatic music exponent himself, would teach her carnatic music lessons. At a very young age, she moved to the US where she continued her formal training under Sangeetha Swaminathan.

Currently she learns carnatic music under Delhi P Sunder Rajan, as well as Hindustani music from Archana and Manoj Tamhankar of the Gwalior Gharana School of Music.

To properly understand the nuances and intricacies of music and lyrics, Pragathi learnt Sanskrit, both written and spoken. This enabled her perfect diction in songs of all languages.

She got her greatest break in the third season of Vijay TV’s Airtel Super Singer Junior competition, in which she was a runner-up. She also bagged the coveted title of Best Classical Singer.

Her passion for the performing arts meant she took nine months off school, temporarily relocating to Chennai to participate in this competition. In spite of all of this her education did not suffer.

Her outstanding performance in the competition drew attention from the right sectors of the music industry, thus launching her professional playback singing career, and she debuted with Kalakku from the film Panithuli, going on to sing for GV Prakash Kumar in the critically acclaimed film Paradesi with two songs – Sengade and Or Mirugam – and thereafter singing Osaka Osaka for the movie Vannakam Chennai.

Since then, she has sung a substantial number of songs for Tamil cinema and released private albums around the world.

One such album, which was released in Europe, was Pragathi’s first single entitled Pattampoochi. The song was produced in Germany, with artists from Denmark, Germany and the UK, and it was also Pragathi’s first song in Europe. In August last year, she recorded another track for the album Vaanavil – The Quest, titled Aasai, along with London singer TeeJay, and received strong critical acclaim for her singing.

She has sung for many private albums in Malaysia, India, Srilanka, Europe and the US. She has also won many singing competitions throughout Northern America, including Spandana Super Singer Junior 2010 and Carnatic Music Idol 2011 (featured on Jaya TV).

Pragathi has done a number of Carnatic kutcheris (concerts) and competitions across the US and is now engaged in shows across that country, Europe, Australia and India.

In May she won the title of Best International Find at the Vijay TV Awards Ceremony held in Chennai.

Pragathi’s rise to fame at just 16 years of age indeed shows great promise for her future as a playback singer and a cultural ambassador.

• Amuthum Thenum Nite is free and the public is invited to attend. The show will be held on Saturday at the Shri Mariammen Temple Grounds, Mt Edgecombe. Commences at 6pm. This is an outdoor event, but a marquee and chairs will be provided. However, the public are urged to dress warmly and, if possible, bring cushions. For any further enquiries, contact Deepam Productions at 031 5073246 or [email protected]


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