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Visiting artistes promise melodious evening

Muthamil Sangam 15th Anniversary on June 5, 2016

Venkat Raman – 
venkat@indiannewslink.co.nz

When Sheba Soundararajan, General Secretary of Muthamil Sangam in Auckland informed us two months ago of plans to mark the 15th Anniversary of the organisation, our prayer was that the event should evince the interests of the community.

Our desire was spelt in terms of honouring true lovers of Tamil language, literature, theatre, fine arts and most importantly volunteers, teachers and others who have been instrumental in its success over the past 15 years.

In pledging our unstinted support to her and those organising the event, we hope that commercial organisations and other donors in the community would fund the programme which has now gathered a larger dimension with the inclusion of two playback singers from Chennai.

Celebrity singers

Srilekha Parthasarathy and her husband M J Shriram, who have earned celebrity status will be the star attraction at the Sangam’s celebrations scheduled to be held on Sunday, June 5, 2016 at Dorothy Winstone Centre, Auckland Girls Grammar School.

“The visitors will take us on a musical journey of popular songs culled from Tamil films, especially those composed by the late M S Viswanathan & Ramamurthy and Ilayaraja, the maestro who recently completed his 1000th film. This is a rare event for Muthamil Sangam and we hope our people will extend their support and encourage its growth,” Mrs Soundararajan said.

Visiting artistes promise- MJ Shriram and Srilekha with SPB, MSV and Gangai AmaranAs well as undertaking regular activities such as Weekly Tamil Radio, Weekly Tamil Classes and cultural programmes, the Sangam conducts Blood donation camps every year, and participates in environmental cleaning activities organised by the Auckland Regional Parks and Reserves.

“Our growth over the years would not have been possible without the generous contribution and support from our Sponsors, dedicated time and efforts from all who served as office bearers and help and support from our volunteers,” Mrs Soundararajan said.

“From a very small humble beginning as an Incorporated Society in 2001, we have progressed into a community based organisation catering to the Tamil Speaking people in New Zealand. The primary mission of Muthamil Sangam is to promote and cultivate Tamil language and culture by organizing social and cultural events, celebrating major Tamil festivals, teaching Tamil to the next generation and participating in charitable causes,” she added.

About Srilekha Parthasarathy

Muthtamil Sangam 15th Year celebration posterHer musical career began when she was four years old.

Born, raised and educated in New Delhi, Srilekha Parthasarathy won wider attention

when she won the first prize in the annual All India Children’s Music Competition.

“I was privileged to learn Carnatic music from Mrs Moorthy and Hindustani Classical from Hafeez Ahmed Khan in Delhi. I am currently a student of Meghna Dandekar (Hindustani Classical) and Western Classical from Neena Menezes in Chennai.

According to The Hindu, Srilekha worked with a street theatre group but soon quit acting to prevent strain to her voice.

There were no lapel mikes in those days and singers had to raise their voice to communicate to the audience.

Delhi Tamil Educational Association School honoured with the ‘Nightingale’ title when was in her school final year.

Her initial inspiration was her maternal grandfather P S Varadhachari, a retired principal of the Madura College who had done research in Physics and Music.

Prior to relocating to Chennai, she had participated in college cultural festivals, jingles, cover albums and wedding mehndi music.

She was in pursuit of greener pastures.

But it was not easy.

Her parents supported her, but she had no contacts in the business.

“Those were tough days for me. I had nobody in the film industry to back me. Like a salesperson, I noted numbers of music directors from the telephone directory, fixed appointments waited for hours, met composers and presented my demo CDs. This routine went on for three years,” she said.

It was an advertisement jingle (‘Dhinanthorum Vaanguveer Idhayam) that gave her the much awaited break.

About M J Shriram

Shriram is a singer as well as actor and interior designer.

He began his journey in music when he was five years old and has since participated in a number of competitions, cultural programmes and stage shows in Tamil Nadu, other parts of India and overseas.

“Singing is my passion and any type of music energies my mind, soul and body. Winning the Best Singer Award at the Chennai based Loyola College in 1988-1989 was the biggest motivation and inspiration. I have never had an occasion to look back since then,” he said.

This popular singer sports irrepressible love for Tamil film songs of 1970s and 1980s, especially the compositions of Ilayaraja sung by S P Balasubrahmanyam (SPB).

His weekly performances, titled, ‘Mind, Body & Soul’ at ‘Black & White,’ a retro bar at The Residency in Chennai, have earned a large following.

It also has the occasional younger generation in thrall — actor Prasanna, for instance. “I wish I were born thirty years earlier than I actually was, and played the hero during the 1970s and the 1980s, and lip-synced the songs from that era,” he told The Hindu.

“Even teens visiting the bar enjoy these songs, thanks to familiarity with their remixed versions,” Shriram said but drew a line at singing remixes.

It is a sacrilege to modify the songs of Ilayaraja and SPB,” he said.

Like his wife Srilekha Parthasarathy, Shriram is on a musical journey of the 1970s and 1980s best remembered by haunting songs such as ‘Yengeyum Yeppothum,’ ‘Unakkenna Mele Nindrai,’ ‘Kamban Emaanthaan’ and ‘Poove Ezhaiya Poove.’

Image courtesy : silverscreen.in

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