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Lalitha Sudha

Lalithasudha Lalitha SudhaFor 11-year-old Lalitha Sudha, singing complicated ‘kirthanas’ (devotional songs) is child’s play.

Gifted with a beautiful voice and exceptional talent, she can sing in Telugu, Tamil, Gujarati, Bengali, Kannada and Sanskrit. Young Lalitha Sudha is indeed a maestro in the making.

Lalitha cut her first album when she was barely seven years old and a year later she did another. These two albums were however not marketed and were recorded mainly for friends and relatives. She later did two other albums when she was nine and ten. These two albums are available in the market. The latest album released by Kalavardhini is also available in CD form.

Lalitha Sudha with her parentsThis student of Lady Andal School seems to be marked out for higher things since her early age. Her parents M S Raghava Rao and M L S Bhanu are proud about their daughter’s achievements. Says her doting father about Lalitha’s initiation into music, “Music was always there in our family although none of us undertook formal training, we used to attend various ‘kutcheris’ (concerts). We used to take Lalitha to Sai Baba ‘bhajans’ (devotional songs), which were held in the neighbourhood, when she was about a year or so old.”

Lalitha SudhaFor her ‘Aksharabhyasam’, or the learning ceremony (a ceremony in which the child is blessed by the elders in the house, before commencing formal studies), Lalitha’s parents took her to ‘Sai Baba’ himself. They took her to Puttaparthi during Dussera (a Hindu religious festival). During the few days that they spent there, Lalitha accompanied them to the bhajans. After they came back to Chennai they noticed that their little girl who was hardly two and half years old was singing these ‘Sanskrit bhajans’ with ease and without any difficulty in pronouncing complicated words. They realised that their daughter had a special gift.

Her father who wanted her to learn music formally, asked around the neighbourhood for music teachers and was finally directed to one particular house. He was told that there was a lady who knew music. “When I knocked on the door, the lady’s husband opened the door. When I explained the purpose of my visit he replied that his wife did not teach music. Somehow I was determined to get that lady to teach my daughter music. I persuaded both of them to give my daughter a chance. The lady whose name is Lakshmi Raghavan asked me to bring my child and that she would see if she could teach”.

That was how Lalitha Sudha came to learn music from Lakshmi Raghavan, her teacher now for more than six years. Seeing her exceptional talent and ability to grasp music, her music teacher proceeded to teach her at a very fast pace.

“I was puzzled as to why her teacher was teaching at such a fast pace. One day while picking up my daughter from her class I asked her. She said that my daughter was gifted with an exceptional ability to grasp music and she told me to keep out of Lalitha’s training. She treats Lalitha more like her grand daughter rather than just a student and over the years their relationship has become a special one”, says Lalitha’s father.

A few months after she had started music lessons, Lalitha entered a district level competition. This was her first music competition and she was hardly seven years old. She learnt her first ‘kirthana’ for this competition. She stood second in that competition, which had hundreds of students participating. This was the first of many accolades to come Lalitha’s way.

“It just happened, there was no conscious effort”, says Lalitha modesty personified.