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Charulatha Mani – Carnatic Singer

31 March 2011 3 Comments

Last time, we all saw how Kalyan Varma plunged into wilderness to chase his dreams.. 🙂 Today we have another person, who decided to chase her dreams.. Readers, CWS is in search of India’s role models and today, it is my pleasure to have Charulatha Mani – Carnatic Music Singer! in this edition of CWS!

Charulatha Mani is a Mechanical Engineer from the College of Engineering, Guindy, but she responded to her soul’s call, and decided to take up singing as a full time career. Born on the 20th of January, 1981, at Chennai, to Sri. O.S. Mani, Chief Engineer, Marine, and Smt. Hemalatha Mani, Veena Vidushi, Charulatha Mani grew up in a musical atmosphere at home. She was inculcated into music at a very young age and grew up listening to her mother’s numerous concerts and practice sessions. As a child, when she accompanied her parents on board for voyages abroad, she sang along with the tapes of great stalwarts like M.S. Subbulakshmi, and even then, her forays into the music world had well begun. Even at the age of 4 she sang complex compositions and ata tala varnas. Spotting this natural talent, her parents put her under the able guidance of Sangita Kala Acharya Sandhyavandanam Sri Srinivasa Rao and his son Poorna Pragna Rao, at the age of 9. She has also undergone advanced training under Calcutta Sri. K. S. Krishnamurthy and Ragam-Tanam-Pallavi training under Sri Venkatrama Iyer.

She continues to work very hard for achieving new heights in music, and has given over 500 concerts in all major sabhas all over India and abroad, from the age of 11. Her performances during the music season are very well received, and she has won several awards for Best Concerts from various sabhas. She has many audio releases to her credit, including thematic albums. (Source: http://www.charulathamani.com/about/about_charulatha_mani.php)

Coffee With Charulatha Mani – Carnatic Music Singer
Me: Sundar Rajan G S
CLM: Charulatha Mani

Me: Hi CLM, Welcome to the show on Coffee With Sundar! It is a pleasure to have you hear.. Can you talk about your early childhood, introduction to music, your gurus.. your music story 🙂

CLM: I grew up with music. My mother Hemalatha Mani is a vainika and I would listen to her numerous practice sessions and classes with her guru Shri Chittibabu. My gurus include Sandhyavandanam Sri Poorna Pragna Rao, Calcutta Sri K S Krishnamurthy and Smt. Savitri Satyamurty. Music for me was more about listening to a lot of greats, and intuitive approach rather than parrotting what the teacher has taught. I have evolved a unique style for myself by exploring my inner being.

Me: You were a mechanical engineering from Anna University.. How was your college life.. How did you handle education along with music.. A lot of people stop music before 10th std, 12 std etc..

CLM: Music was like eating, breathing and living for me. I was never different from it. I enjoyed college life. Was one of two girls in a class of 100 boys! I got a CGPA of 9.48, the second in the whole department. I chose to take up music full-time after passing out with flying colours.

Me: Sure.. What do you think were your most important turning points of your life..

CLM: The following are the key moments for me. Yuva Kala Bharati in 2005. Tambura Prize from Sri N. Ramani sir, 2003. Isai Payanam concerts series was another one. The first one was on March 17th 2007 and saw unprecedented crowd at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan Mylapore. Apart from that, I had film hits in the years 2008, 2009 and 10. Isai Cafe on Raj TV 2011 was different opening. My website, www.charulathamani.com, www.charulathamani.blogspot.com and Isai Payanam on youtube – www.youtube.com/isaipayanam also added a different dimension..

Me: You have performed across the globe.. Where all have you travelled.. How is the reception of carnatic music around the world vs performing in chennai.. Do you approach the concerts any differently..

CLM: I have travelled widely including UK, USA, Canada, Europe, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Middle East etc.
Music lovers abroad are really eager and enthusiastic. Chennai is great, abroad is super!! Concerts there are longer in duration and people keep craving for more.

Me: What are your favourite ragas and favourite songs.. Can you list a few…and why do you like them..

CLM: I love Shanmukhapriya, Sindhubhairavi, Durbari, Bhairavi, and Kapi a lot. I feel these come straight from my soul.

Me: Let us speak about your accomplishments.. You have been awarded a number of awards.. Can you speak about the special top 3 for you and why do you say so..

CLM: I do not attach much importance to awards. I have several of them, suffice to say that. I shall also win several more. I am by nature humble, so I do not wish to name any in particular. I am blessed. 🙂

Me: We all know that music is your life.. But apart from music.. What else do you do..

CLM: I travel with family to holiday destinations of interest. Spend time with my kids. I read lots of spiritual literature and spend lots of time in meditation and prayer.

Me: What are your dreams & aspirations.. Where do you see yourself 5 or 10 years down the line…

CLM: I would like to keep singing and serve humanity using the popularity and fame that I acquire.

Me: What is your advice for young & aspiring singers..

CLM: Enjoy music…do not be obsessive about its correctness, go with the flow. You will find your level. Do not over reach a stage that undermines what you already possess.

Me: Is there anything else you would like to add..

CLM: Thank you for this platform, and all the best with your blog.

Me: Thank you very much CLM for you time!

Readers, hope you enjoyed this edition of Coffee With Experts! Special thanks to Vidya Rangasayee for helping me in conducting this interview. The previous interview on CWS with Kalyan Varma can be found here – Part 1, Part 2 & Part 3.




  • Akhil said:


    Good interview. Charulatha sounds like a great role model for aspiring singers. Sounds like tt a very young age she has accomplished a lot. I was particularly moved by the fact that she is one of two girls along with 100 boys in her class. If that is not inspiring for others then I don’t know what is…

    Also, her advise for aspiring singers is applicable for any aspiring individual – stop obsessing perfection, create and enjoy what you created.

    Thanks for this Sundar..

  • Cams said:

    It is, indeed that what I was talking about all the time, but you publicated it in a formal way, thank you.

  • Domina said:

    It is, indeed that what I was talking about all the time, but you publicated it in a formal way, thank you.