25 years to Music

"2010 marks an important milestone in the career of Smt Sivasakthi. It marks 25 years of professional service to music at the Bhavan in London. The following is a collection of short articles from friends and colleagues on this special occasion.”

Message from Guruji. Dr.T.V.Gopalakrishnan

Message from Guruji. Dr.T.V.Gopalakrishnan

Smt.Sivasakthi Sivanesan is a unique combination of chaste music, correct Carnatic traditions, committed votary of serious music education and a great performer in Vocal music & veena.

It seems like yesterday – but over 2 decades have elapsed after my first encounter with this serious graduate musician of the star studded Govt Music College,Chennai. At this time, this college was brimming with all the greats in Carnatic Music. She had learnt from them all and others. To cite a few;D.K.Pattamal, M.SAmma, M.A Kalyanakrishna Bhagavathar, T.N.Krishnan, T.M.Thyagarajan, K.V.Narayanaswamy, B.Rajam Iyer,D.K.Jayaraman! She was introduced to me by the great cultural Ambassador Sri Mathur Krishnamurthy – Mathurji to one and all – during my first visit to the Bhavan - sometime in 1987 or so – The next time he told me that Siva Sakthi is a golden pillar bearing the whole weight of the Southern Culture - music ,dance & south Indian culture with the bhavan and insisted that I groom her in whatever way for her attaining the pinnacle as a performer & teacher.

Since then, our association as a Guru & Sishya has blossomed into a multi faceted & resplendent tree producing many delectable and quaint flowers & fruits in the form of students and performers.

I do not venture into statistics – I can safely say that she has produced the largest number of performing artists and let them soar high from the bhavan’s charismatic portals in the last 25 years! She has not only produced great disciples but also moulded them into very sincere and dedicated devotees of Indian Music & Culture. Along with the Dance Maestro Sri Prakash Eddugade,Sivasakthi has regaled the British and European cognoscenti for many years and still continue to do so. She has enjoyed the unstinted patronage from all the inmates of the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan right from the Chairman down to the youngest entrant to the Bhavan!

Sri Mathurji and Dr.Nandakumara (the present director) greatly adore her musicianship and teaching acumen and she has reciprocated with complete devotion to her art.

On this occasion of celebrating the Silver Jubilee of her association with the bhavan, I wish her all the best in life! My message will not be complete if I do not mention the whole hearted support she has been enjoying from her husband – Shri Sivanesan – a Suddha Saivam – a puritan soul true to his name!

She is very fortunate with her own family who are also into music and especially dear Shankar who chips in all then like a palpable shadow!

ALL my blessings
Guruji. Dr.T.V.Gopalakrishnan

Message from Mandolin U.Shrinivas

Message from Mandolin U.Shrinivas

I'm very happy to know that Mrs.Sivasakthi Sivanesan is being honored by the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan London for her meritorious services in the field of Fine arts in general and classical music in particular. She is excellent performing artiste of today in both vocal and Veena and a good teacher too .

She has trained many people most of them are very good performing artists of today. She deserves all appreciation and I pray the Almighty to give her good health and many more happy musical year to come. She has been a guiding factor to many young musicians. I have very long association with Sivasakthi Akka and I'm very happy to share my feelings of happiness on this joyous occasion. In this connection, one should appreciate Uncle Sivanesan's guiding factor and for his continuous support to Akka in all her endeavors.

Message from Rajkumar Bharathi

Message Rajkumar Bharathi

I am extremely happy to know that Smt. Sivasakthi Sivanesan is entering into her 25th year of musical services at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, London. Our friendship has been such that it makes me feel pleasant and happy whenever I think of her or talk to her and so I am happier in writing a few words about her! Our association is pretty long, some twenty years or so. I met her for the first time when she came to my Guru rather our Guru Sri TVG for a project called ‘The Face’. That was also the first time I met Sri Prakash Yadugudde, (who is also a very good friend of mine) the dance teacher in the Bhavan. It was a dance ballet and Sri TVG scored the music for it and I was there to assist him. I saw that she had a tremendous passion for music but what surprised me was that she was almost equally passionate about the Bhavan as well! It was not ‘working’ in or for the Bhavan for her. Bhavan was her very life! I thought she went home just to spend her night! All her time would be spent in the Bhavan. I think the Bhavan and she had mutual love and respect! She worked hard to project the services of the Bhavan and it is not an exaggeration when I say that the strength of the students in the Bhavan today is because of Shiva, as I affectionately call her! How many arangetrams, in how many categories like vocal, dance and mridangam she would have conducted personally, God only would know! Now that she has been teaching in the Bhavan for 25 years I am sure she is now a ‘generations’ teacher as her old time students bring their children to her for training! She is a mother to all the students in the Bhavan!

Shiva’s love for carnatic music is limitless. She also extended that love to all the performing musicians as much possible. She brings artistes from India every year to come and teach in the Bhavan’s Summer Course. She also arranges, through the Bhavan of course, workshops to benefit the students for which again artistes come from outside UK. Shiva shows equal care to see to it that both the students and the artistes get benefited.

Shiva has great respect for all her Gurus. All the teachers from whom she learnt music, right from her college days till now are treated with great reverence and concern by her. As a result, all her Gurus are ever willing to accept any invitation she extends! Special mention must be made about the great efforts she took in bringing out as publications the works of her Guru Sri. Veeramani Iyer. These she brought out as three or four books which she dedicated to him, soon after his passing away. I have also been associated in helping her to bring out CD albums of Shiva singing his songs.

Personally Shiva is a great friend of mine. All musicians love to go and stay in her house and enjoy her hospitality and I am one of them.

In all her 25 years of service till now, her husband Sri. Sivanesan has just been her backbone! A loving couple!

I wish that her passion stays alive all her lifetime so that we enjoy it, the students enjoy it and needless to say the Bhavan enjoys it!

Let the Almighty bless her with the right spirit and health!

Rajkumar Bharathi

Message from Ganesh and Kumaresh

Message Rajkumar Bharathi

I, and Kumaresh along with Sheila, Jayanthi, Akshay, Dharini take great pleasure in Congratulating Sivasakti Akka for her exceptional work in Teaching at the Bhavan and especially on completing 25 long years .

She is avery great source of inspiration to her students, to other teachers, musicians , rasikas and also to the large community and culture that she represents.

Sivasakti Akka has dedicated her life to music in all its dimensions and we sincerely pray God for her and uncle to have a long, healthy, peaceful life in service of Music.

I also take this opportunity to Thank akka and uncle for all their support to us.

Ganesh Rajagopalan

Message from Dr. Veena Jayanthi

Message Rajkumar Bharathi

It has been a great pleasure for me knowing Sivashakthi akka for the last 15years. Her charecteristic smile, her sincerity and her never ending energy strikes you as soon as she greets you with a bright smile. she is child like at heart and a great teacher.

She considers all her students to be her children and she is a great mother to all her students. Her selflessness comes out in every action of hers and she is a great asset to any organisation she has been instrumntal in co ordinating most of my visits to the UK. i wish her a very long healthy and happy life...

Dr.Jayanthi Kumaresh
both annas are in the USA.

Message from Unnikrishnan

Message from Unnikrishnan

Dear Sivasakthi Aunty,

Hearty congratulations on the completion of 25 years of service at the Bhavan. As a musician it is your hardwork,dedication, good heart and selflessness to serve classical art that has taken you to where you are. It feels so nice to be associated with wonderful people like you. For senior musicians and young musicians like me, you have always been a source of support and encouragement. It is not easy to be one of the best teachers but you are one and loved most by all your students.

Your spirit of innovation and the urge to be different is what makes you stand apart. I believe that most of it would not have been possible, but for the wonderful source of support Sivanesan uncle has been to you, "A man begins every woman". May god give you the strength to continue this unstinted service to not only classical art but also musicians for many more years to come.
Lots of love and best wishes

Message from Sanjay Subrahmanyan

Message from Sanjay Subrahmanyan

Smt Sivasakthi Sivanesan has been doing fantastic service to the community in London for the last 25 years. She has been a pillar of strength to the music section of the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan conducting classes in Vocal and Veena.

I have known Mrs Sivanesan for almost a decade and have seen first hand he respect and love that she enjoys from the children who come to learn music from her. Having learnt from several great masters, she is firmly grounded in the traditional values of carnatic music. She has used this and her own hard work in guiding the music department at the Bhavan and the results are there for the community to see. I would personally like congratulate 'Akka' on completing 25 years of service and hope she continues on to her golden jubilee and more.

Message from Amma:

"We are delighted to learn that Sivasakti will be completing 25 years of service to the fine arts at the Bhavan. Over these years, Sivasakti has done wonders in inculcating values to the students and sustaining and nurturing their interest in the fine arts by promoting their talents.

Sivasakti's dance arangetram at Jaffna was presided over by my late husband Padma Bhushan Veena Vidwan S. Balachander. Sivasakti's parents who were keen lovers of music and dance fully encouraged her inherent talent. They sent their lovely young daughter to Chennai to study music at the Central College of Music and also to learn the veena from SB. She has studied under various gurus absorbing the very best they had to offer. Today she is herself an accomplished and respected guru, loved by her students and their parents alike, her untiring service to the arts at the Bhavan now spanning a landmark 25 years.

We pray the Almighty that she may be blessed with many more years of health and happiness to carry on her selfless work. I have great pleasure in wishing the celebrations marking this milestone achievement all the very best.

Shantha Balachander

Friendship lost and found

I met Sivasakthi in 1974 in the then Madras where we were both studying. Her cousin “Guna” was a classmate at New College and asked me to accompany him to visit Sivasakthi. A year later I left for Kanpur to study at IIT, and we kept in touch. The last I heard from her was in 1980 announcing her marriage to Siva and that they were moving to Singapore.

Twenty five years later, wandering where my friends were, as you do when you get older, I googled “Sivasakthi” and “Indian classical music” to search for her. And sure enough, there were loads of Sivasakthis and a few linked to music. I then searched for images and there appeared a face that I recognised and gave me the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan as the source of the image. It all made sense when I found that she was a music teacher there.
I hesitated for a few seconds before I emailed the Bhavan to enquire whether she was THE Sivasakthi that I met so long ago in Madras. We met in London soon after and I was introduced to Siva. This was nearly 5 years ago. Today we are great friends again and in Siva I have made a new friend. Indeed we are more like family and I am fortunate to have rediscovered our friendship.

As for Sivasakthi’s love, dedication and talent for music, I’ll leave that to others more qualified and knowledgeable than me to praise this great lady who has given and continue to give so much to music and to hundreds of aspiring musicians and music lovers over the past 25 years.

Sivasakthi, God bless you.

Ben Thancanamootoo

Message from Raghu Krishnamoorthy

We wish to congratulate Mrs Sivasakthi Sivanesan for her unstinting 25 years of service to music at the Bhavan. We are delighted for her and proud too. As far as we are concerned, some of the best memories in our lives have been associated with Mrs. Sivanesan and the Bhavan. We sincerely believe that Mrs. Sivanesan was not just a guru to Preetha in music, but indeed taught her valuable life lessons. For that and for the friendship Mrs Sivanesan and her husband Siva have given us, we will always be grateful.

Please accept our sincere wishes and felicitations for a glorious 25 years. We are indeed blessed to have our paths cross and will indeed miss the event with sadness and nostalgia.

Raghu, Bala, Maya and Preetha Krishnamoorthy