Keys and notes

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Couple Mohan and Sangeetha Ayyar explore different facets of classical music – he the electronic keyboard, and she Carnatic vocals

Continuing on the series of gifted and proven musicians of Sydney, I consider it a privilege to write about Mohan and Sangeetha Ayyar, the husband-wife duo who are brilliant in their respective fields of Carnatic music. Mohan is adept in the difficult to coax the electronic keyboard, which he learned to play virtually on his own. Mohan’s well known and highly regarded Carnatic Corner was established in 1994, a source to know everything about Carnatic music. As a teenager Mohan developed a fascination for Carnatic music and it stayed with him to this day in the same intensity. He is quite aware the musical glides and ornamentations of play are not easy to come by in a keyboard- synthesizer. Correct technique helps to play certain hard phrases but it is practice that has helped him shine.

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Mohan was born in Uganda, to Varadaraja Ayyar and Sharada Mami, and his contact with India and Indian music were nurtured during the family’s yearly trips to their home land and his religious adherence to hear and learn its intricate features. Apart from regular hours of long rigorous practice, he teaches a number of aspiring keyboard enthusiasts, maintains a very popular world class Carnatic music data base, besides being part of an long standing trio of music entrepreneurs who successfully manages the Carnatic Music Sabha, Pallavi. He is currently working on getting his doctoral degree, his topic being the composition process in the music of Bharathanatyam.

Sangeetha is a highly gifted singer, with a strong pristine voice, ever happy countenance, a good stage presence and a down to earth disposition. I can proudly vouch that she is currently one of the top three singers singing in Australia. Her father the late Karaikkudi S. Kannan, spotted musical gift in his daughter, and being a singer himself, taught her the nuances of the vocal art. She was fortunate to be trained by some well-known teachers, very recently by Uma Ramu Ayyar. She too teaches a number of students and is a highly devoted teacher. A speciality of Sangeetha’s singing is her powerful voice, and she puts it to good use.

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