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