Tamil film music has seen a lot of new talents emerging the last decade thanks to the incomparable AR Rahman. One such person who's impressed me tremendously since her arrival in the music scene has been Anuradha Sriram.
Born into a family with deep roots in music, Anu despite doing very well in acads in Padma Seshadri Chennai and wanting to become a Doctor, was persuaded by her father to take to music seriously. She trained under many respected Gurus such as Padmasri Tanjavur Sri. S.Kalyanaraman, Sangeetha Kalanidhi Smt. T. Brinda and Dr. T.Viswanathan in the Carnatic style and under Pandit Manikbua Thakurdas in the Hindustani style. She was a Gold medalist in both B.A., and M.A., in music from the Madras University. She was given a fellowship to do her Masters in World Music from Wesleyan University, Connecticut, U.S.A. While in the U.S.A., she learnt Western Classical Opera and Jazz. Besides this, she performed in Indonesian and West African music concerts. The President of India Gold Medal in 1987 for Carnatic and Light Classical Music and the Central Government Senior Fellowship in 1989 add to her list of many achievements.
Diversifying into films, her first big break came when she was part of the chorus (supporting vocals as ARR likes to say) in Bombay. She however gained fame only with one of her early solo numbers under ARR, the haunting Anbendra Mazhaiyile in Minsara Kanavu. From there till today (she has even turned MD with Five Star along with her husband Parasuram Sriram), it’s been a wonderful journey and it would be an understatement to say that she has been a sheer delight to her millions of fans. Be it folk tunes, classic melodies or outright dappanguthu numbers, Anu's versatility is to be heard to be believed. And this is one artiste who can sing better in live programmes if ever that is possible. I personally feel she is the female equivalent of SPB in Tamil and would not be surprised if she acted in movies and did extremely well. To be honest, I even have a superb role for her in my script - if only someone would lend me the dough :-)
Here are some of her best hits. Long live Anuradha Sriram.