When South Meets North – Priya Purushothaman: a dedicated disciple

When South Meets North - Priya PurushothamanHere is a rare instance of guru profiling (and celebrating) sishya. Aditi Kaikini Upadhya, the author of this piece, is an established vocalist in the Agra gharana, and a teacher and musicologist based in Bengaluru.

A daughter of the late Dinkar Kaikini, a cerebral and renowned icon of her school of vocalism, and Shashikala Kaikini, vocalist and academician of repute, Aditi Upadhya also trained in dadra, thumri and hori with the late Shobha Gurtu. She is much in demand for her lecture demonstrations and workshops on Indian classical music. She is a devoted guru as well.

Priya Purushothaman approached me with a request to teach her Hindustani vocal music in the summer of 2002, while she was visiting Bengaluru. She had just finished her third year at Columbia University and had come to India to visit her family. Like many prospective students whom I meet in the south, she had thirteen years of training in Carnatic music that she had received while growing up in New York. I asked her why she wanted to learn Hindustani music, and she told me of her interest in the increased improvisational freedom she felt this style would give her. I agreed to teach her for two reasons: the family she belonged to, and the determination and perseverance I saw in her eyes. (Daughter of Tamil-speaking parents Ramaa and Sampath Purushothaman, Priya went to school at New York and graduated from Columbia University, NY. Married to photo journalist Hari Adivarekar, she now resides in Bengaluru)… read more