Smt. Sivasakthi Sivanesan was born in Jaffna, Northern Sri Lanka, on 21st February, 1957, in a household where melody was a way of life. Her father was a source of guidance, inspiration and dedication. Her music and dance education began at the tender age of five and soon it was clear that this child would carve out a niche in the world of performing arts.

Early Years

Her first Guru was the great Sri Yazpanam N Veeramani Iyer, a composer, choreographer and dancer par excellence. To Sri Veeramani, Iyer Sivasakthi was not just a disciple, but also a daughter, a friend and a torch-bearer to the vast musical fortune (in the form of thousands of compositions) that he was to leave behind. For Sivasakthi, her relationship with the Veeramani family brought her as close as possible to the ancient practices of gurukulam. Even today, her devotion to the Guru as a teacher and a person stands out as an example to her own students.


At the age of thirteen, eight years after she had begun to inhabit the world of music and dance, Sivasakthi performed her 'Arangetram' in Jaffna's Bharata Natyam with Sri S. Balachander as the Chief Guest. Arangetram literally means 'ascension to stage' - a beginning. Sivasakthi's arangetram was indeed a beginning of her professional career as a musician.

She continued her musical studies with stalwarts like Chittoor Subramaniya Pillai and Kalyan Krishna Bhagawathar (for Vina) from the Ramanathan Academy of Fine Arts (now Jaffna University's department of music) and graduated with a Sangeetha Ratnam Diploma at the age of fifteen. In the field of Carnatic music and dance, most students decide to specialise in one area - and here was this young girl, demonstrating proficiency in vocal instrumental music (Vina) and in dance.