Published on 14 June 2017


The 9th National Indian Music Competition this year saw over 140 musicians compete in a variety of vocal and instrumental categories. This triennial event organised by the National Arts Council aims to develop the classical Indian music scene in Singapore by developing the performing skills of young musicians and identifying new musical talent. 41 musicians were awarded prizes and here are five sharing their thoughts on their wins.

PRANAV SWAMINATHAN, 13 Winner of Mridangam (Intermediate Category)

Middle_Pranav Swaminathan, 1st - Mridangam Intermediate category performing with accompaniment - Photo: NAC

“I have been learning the Mridangam, an ancient Indian percussion instrument, since I was six, at Alapana Arts. I have always had a flair for rhythm, so my father enrolled me to train under Shri. V. Raghuraman. To prepare for this competition, I practiced for over three months. I learned new aspects of playing and I also saw many talented people playing in different styles. The masterclass by Shri. Trichy Sankaran was also very insightful. I am very happy about winning the first prize; this has given me more motivation to do even better in the future.”

RAMACHANDRAN SANHYA, 16 Winner of Violin (Intermediate Category)

“I have been learning the violin for seven years and have always been drawn to its beautiful sound. It is one of main accompanying instruments in Carnatic music. In preparation for this competition, I would use whatever free time I could find within my hectic school schedule to practice. Performing before such renowned musicians has been a wonderful learning experience – I could not ask for more. I also did not expect to win the first prize as this is my first time participating in the violin category of this competition. I am elated!”

AMOL ROHIT PARANJAPE, 19 Winner of Hindustani Vocal (Open Category)

Middle_Amol Rohit Paranjape, 2nd - Hindustani Vocal Open category performing with accompaniment - Photo : MCCY

“Hindustani music is the classical music of North India. I come from a musical family, and I learned music from my parents informally at a very young age. However, it’s also necessary to train the voice for classical music. Being good in this art form doesn’t come easily – it takes years of perseverance before the good results manifest. Winning this competition has given me more confidence in my ability to sing and to handle pressure. The masterclasses also helped me learn more about myself as a classical vocalist. The next step is to implement the feedback I received during the competition and to take my music to the next level.”

ARCHANA KUMARASWAMY, 21 Winner of Veena (Open Category)

Right_Archana Kumaraswamy, 1st - Veena Open category performing with accompaniment - Photo: MCCY

I’ve been learning to play the Veena, an Indian Classical stringed instrument used to play Carnatic music, for the past ten years. I am humbIed and honoured to win a prize and I think it reflects a lot on the dedication and hard work of my teacher, Guru Smt. Meenakshi Somasundram. I hope to continue learning more about Indian classical music and improving the way I play my instrument through continuous practice.

SUDARSHAN NARASIMHAN, 28 Winner of Carnatic Vocal (Open Category)

Sudarshan Narasimhan, 1st - Carnatic Vocal Open Category - Photo: MCCY

“Carnatic music originated in South India and is created to be sung in vocals. There’s some improvisation involved as well, like jazz. I have been learning Carnatic vocal music for the past 18 years. My mum sung it and taught it, and my family was always listening to it. I became drawn this form of music. To prepare for this competition, I followed this mantra: ‘Don’t practice till you get it right. Practice till you can’t get it wrong.’ The positive recognition from the judges and audience is nice, but the process never ends – there’s always a lot to unlearn and relearn.”

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