21 March, 2019
Aging is natural, and it is something that we cannot stop; however, age need not interfere in any way from people doing things they love. Inspiration to do things can be taken and given at any age, as has been proved by the South Indian singer Kavya Ajit, who released a video album, “Naanoru Vilayaattu Bommayaa,” on 8th March 2019, the International Women’s day. What is unique about this video is that Kavya, a trained Carnatic singer, an accomplished violinist, has got her 88-year-old grandmother to croon along with her! Kavya Ajit has already made a name in the music industry with a few songs in the South Indian moviedom and has also performed live concerts across the world. Within a few days, this lovely rendition by the grandma and her granddaughter has crossed 10,000 views on YouTube.
What is special?
In the release notes for this beautiful video, the title of which means, “Am I just a toy for you, Oh Universe?” Kavya dedicated this to the power of the feminine. It shows subtly and beautifully how one woman has encouraged and shaped another woman, and brought about her success as a singer. Kavya has gone on record stating that it was her grandmother, Kamala Subramaniam, who spotted the singing talent in her and encouraged her to pursue it.
She is further quoted saying that her grandmother is a wonderful singer herself, who once also trained students. So, she decided to create a music video, where she would sing along with her grandma, as the ultimate tribute to her. In many ways, the video was a family affair, as the video also showcases her cousin Aswathi Lekha, dancing to choreography by her mother, Lekha Ravi. Also, the music video has been directed by Kavya’s cousin, Vishnu Udayan.
Starting from the call-out of the grandma to her granddaughter to start singing a song, after the lamp is lit, the video is a lovely piece of work throughout. Especially, when you see the 88-year-old Mrs. Kamala singing along effortlessly with her granddaughter, you will feel amazed at the dedication of these two artists, not just to music, but also to each other. It appears, that such a video released on the Women’s Day also shows the inspiration, each of them is taking from the other in their love and pursuit of music. That’s not all; Kavya says she hopes to get more videos like this out, singing with her grandmother.
What Mrs. Kamala has to say?
So, what does Mrs. Kamala has to say about her experience of recording and partaking in this lovely music video along with her grandmother? She says she was delighted to have gotten the opportunity to sing along with her granddaughter, Kavya. She also says that just singing by itself, and singing and recording for an album is different. She says while shooting, you have to consider the people around who are shooting it, and so you have to keep that in mind, keep the feel of the song in mind, and sing along. She, however, happily says that she did not in any way feel troubled at all, by all this!
The recording experience was for her, was a bit different and a mild hassle, only because she says she could not sing as freely as she wanted to, as on other ordinary occasions. Why? Because when you sing for something like this, you have to prepare for it, she says! That kind of shows the dedication that Mrs. Kamala has towards music as well as the occasion, even at this age. Her commitment shows through in the video too.
Even though Mrs. Kamala is a Carnatic music singer and teacher, she liked the variations brought into this video, which was not a purely Carnatic piece. Though she sang Carnatic music, she says she loved the way the music video has been put together overall. Almost gleefully, she says that there was an overflow of messages from people around, family and friends, especially her old students (she does not teach kids other than the family nowadays). She said that everyone thoroughly enjoyed the fact she participated in such a video at this age.
Mrs. Kamala recalls that her father had a great liking towards music, and he also had close contacts with the legendary singer, MS Subbalakshmi. And that is how her father found her a good teacher to start her music classes. Earlier, in the period from 1950 to 1957, Mrs. Kamala has also been part of the AIR Kozhikode program, recording songs and hence, this music video was not her first professional recording experience as such. However, she could not continue with the AIR, since the family then shifted to Gujarat from Kerala. Even though she was given the opportunity in Rajkot, she found it difficult to pick up new things at the time, and hence, discontinued.
Age is never an issue
This video proves that age is never an issue if you want to pursue something truly. Just like how Kavya has been inspired by her grandmother and has now, in turn, encouraged her grandmother to sing along with her, we in the society can look to learn from and inspire each other. This is the kind of the building blocks on which our Indian society has been built across the centuries; that the younger and the older generation, learn to give and take to enrich the society as a whole. And, the music video by Kavya and her grandma Kamala, are just a reminder to us about what we can achieve together if we uphold these values.
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