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Music is a way to reach God, feels vocalist V. Shankaranarayanan
He is many-in-one. He is professional banker. He is also a performing artiste. It is tough to engage in a jugalbandi of this sort in life. He loves it. And, he takes both seriously. He has been giving concerts for over two decades now. This banker-cum-musician is also an able teacher, guiding aspiring singers within India and in Singapore. Meet the multi-faceted V. Shankaranarayanan, who is slated to give a series of concerts in Chennai this December season. He talks to www.carnaticdarbar.com on very many things.

What is your profession?
I am a banker by profession and Carnatic musician. I work for Citibank as Vice-President at the regional office.

Who is your music guru?
I came under the guidance of Vaigal Shri S. Gnanaskandan from the age of seven. He is still my guru. I am also learning under Prof. T.R. Subramaniam.

Since when are you learning music?
I am learning Carnatic vocal since the age of six.

Since when have you started giving concerts?
My first public performance was at the age of nine. I have been giving full length concerts from the age of 14. I have been a regular in all the festivals, including the December season, from the age of 16. I am also an `A’ grade artiste of the All-India Radio and Doordarshan from 2002.

How does Carnatic music fit into your life?
Carnatic music is my passion and occupies a very central position in my life. In fact, I cannot think of a life without it. I give equal importance to my music as I give to my job.

What does music means to you as an individual and as a professional?
For me, music is a way to reach God. Therefore, I deal with music with utmost respect and reverence.

How difficult or easy is it to stay in music even as you pursue other profession?
It is a very difficult job to balance the two because both are equally demanding professions. Especially when it comes to music, it is like a vast ocean and there is so much to learn. I usually spend 4-5 hours every night on music after I come back from work. Even with that effort, I often feel I am not covering enough ground because there is still so much that I aspire to learn and perfect.

What is your goal in terms of your musical aspirations?
I am a serious student of music and will remain that way. I will be happy if people know me as an artiste who always persevered for continuous improvement and learning.

What does music teach you?
Music is a way to reach God. There is a certain emotion that one experiences while performing - a feeling of detachment from the material world. In a way, music teaches me that there is more bliss beyond this material world than we tend to think.


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