The South Asian Times

23 April 2019 22:18 PM

Celebrating Tamil New Year with 'Mahanadhi' Shobana concert

Dr. Shobana Vignesh is a Carnatic vocalist from Tamil Nadu who had stormed the classical music scene as  a child prodigy.

The Chennai-based graceful lady has given hundreds of concerts and showcased her talent in prestigious venues throughout the world. Now she is coming to New York City to give a concert arranged by the New York Tamil Sangam.  The concert will be staged at Andrew Jackson School in Flushing, bear the Ganesh Temple, to celebrate the Tamil New Year- Chithirai Thirunaal.  

She is popularly known as ‘Mahanadhi’ Shobana due to her stint as a child actor and singer in the National award winning Indian movie, “Mahanadhi’ released in 1994. As a leading performing artist, she has cut more than 130 albums in various Indian languages. She has been trained in Carnatic music by stalwarts like Sri. P.S.  Narayanaswamy, Prof. T.R. Subramaniam, and Sri. Swamimalai Janakiraman. She has thus both musical legacy and phenomenal talent.  Mahanadhi Shobana’s voice has an inherent blend of sweetness and depth. She displays an astonishingly expressive range, acquired no doubt through meticulous training and practice.

As an internationally renowned artist, Shobana has performed in several parts of India, the US,  Singapore, Malaysia and Sri Lanka. She is often featured by leading Television channels in India and other  countries and has been performing concerts for the past two decades. With the unique rendition of traditional and time-honored Carnatic music pieces and popular numbers from her albums, Shobana enthralls her audience with her rich and mellifluous voice.

 Apart from being a popular performing artist, Shobana holds a Doctorate in Music and has several  publications to her credit and two of them have been adapted as book chapters. Her lecture-demonstrations on Carnatic Music are well received and she captivates her audience with her in-depth knowledge in the field and her practical experience as a performer.

Dr Shobana’s PhD thesis, highly commended, was titled: ‘A Comparative Study of Western and South Indian Operas.’  Her  M Phil in Music thesis, also highly commended, was titled: ‘Interculturalism in Carnatic Music, an Ethnomusicological Perspective’.

Albums  across genres

Shobana rendered her first audio album at the age of 12. Since then 1,500 of her songs in languages like Sanskrit, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada have been recorded in over 130 albums. She has recorded these albums for leading Indian audio companies such as His Master’s Voice (HMV), Unique Recording Company, Symphony Recording, Indian Recording Company and Vani Recording. Her albums cut across different genres of music such as Carnatic, fusion, devotional, semi-classical, folk songs and film music including nursery rhymes for children in English. She has also sung a poem written by Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, the former President of India, and the song is featured in the audio  album titled ‘India-A Musical Journey.’ Shobana received two nominations for the Global Indian Music  Awards in the year 2010 for her albums, ‘Live in Concert Volumes 1 and 2.’

With the advent of iTunes, Yahoo and MSN Music, etc, her fans and well wishers can now download hundreds of her songs anywhere in the world.

Awards and Titles

Dr Shobana Vignesh’s most recent and notable achievement has been the honor of receiving the ‘Individual Artist Award’ for 2010 from the Maryland State Arts Council, USA and a citation from the Governor of Maryland, USA for her artistic excellence in the field of Carnatic music. Some of other awards and titles conferred on her include:

  • Received the title of ‘TAMIZHISAI VANI’ from the Atlanta Tamil Sangam for her excellence in spreading Tamizhisai across the globe in May 2011.
  • Honored with the ‘YOUNG ACHIEVER’ award in the field of Carnatic music by the India Today  magazine in 2007.
  • Awarded the 'JAYA RATNA' title by Jayadharini Trust, Chennai during the December music season 2007.
  • Scholarship for ‘OUTSTANDING TALENTED YOUNG ARTISTES’ (Vocal Classical Music) by the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Government of India from 2003-2005.
  • ‘YUVA KALA BHARATHI’ title by Bharath Kalachar awarded in the presence of Governor of Tamil Nadu, Ram Mohan Rao, on December 12th, 2003.
  • ‘YOUNG ACHIEVER OF THE YEAR 2002’ award by The Cosmopolitan club of Madras awarded by the Chief Justice of High Court, Chennai, Subhashan Reddy on April 17, 2002.
  • Rukmani Ramanathan Memorial Special Award for ‘EXCELLENCE IN CARNATIC MUSIC’ for  the year 1998-1999 by Padma Seshadri Bala Bhavan Senior Secondary School, Chennai.

Publications and Seminars

  • Dr Shobana Vignesh’s published a book chapter, entitled ‘A Study on Dance Drama and Musical Plays’ in the book, ‘The Different dimensions of Dance and Music.’
  • Paper entitled 'South Indian Operas and Western Operas-A Survey' in the Journal 'Samakalika
  • Sangeetham' in April 2009.
  • Paper entitled ‘A Study on Ramanatakam' in the Journal 'Naadhabrahmam' in January 2009.
  • Presented a paper, 'Contribution to the development of South Indian Operas' in an international
  • conference in February 2008.
  • Presented a paper, 'Evolution of South Indian and Western Operas' in an international conference in January 2008.
  • Book Chapter entitled ‘Music across Boundaries’ (Isai Ellaigalai Kadandhu) in the book ‘A

Collection of 50 essays’ (Katturai Kothu) published in Tamil language.

Social Service Programs

Shobana is associated with various non profits and charities in India and the US and has contributed in the form of performing concerts for fund raising events and annual conventions. Some of the concerts include a fund raising show for free eye camps conducted by Aravind Eye Hospital, India, concerts for the Tamilnadu Foundation across the US, performance for the relief of Tsunami victims at Chennai, concert for the Cancer Institute, Chennai, performance for an AIDS Awareness album, charity concert at Malaysia for the welfare of spastic children and many such events.

Shobana has rendered songs for creating awareness of legal rights among citizens, highlighting the rights of women and various legal help available for them from the government. She was honored for these services by the State Legal Services Authority on Indian Independence day celebrations  at the Bar Council by Chief Justice of High Court, Subhashan Reddy on August 15, 2003.

Update: 19 April, 2014