Juggling a career as adjunct senior lecturer at the Open University of Malaysia and visiting professor at various institutes of higher learning and universities locally and overseas, with his passion for Carnatic singing, comes naturally for Professor Somasundram Venkateswaran.
An intrinsic love for Carnatic music gives the 61-year-old vocalist who is also treasurer of the Building Management Association of Malaysia and a corporate adviser, the energy to use his teaching breaks to fly off almost every month spanning the globe, to fulfill the slots on his year round performance circuit.
The great outpouring of bliss enjoyed by the gentle professor can be seen in the eloquent dance gestures his large expressive hands and head go through during his stage performances be it in rendering the heavy Pancaratna Kirthis of Saint Thiagaraja or singing a folksy Kavadi Sindhu. His facial expressions also go through a gamut of emotions as he relishes the nuances of the soulful songs.
Widely popular on the global Carnatic arena in India, Western countries and Asia, Venkateswaran who received his early training under his Carnatic singer mother and his later guru Dr. S. Ramanathan of India must lament the lack of singing opportunities in Malaysia.
I only managed to get a glimpse of his singing thanks to his personal invitation to attend a Rama Navami function at the Brahmin Samaj at Jalan Ipoh in Kuala Lumpur recently.
There is a dire need to organise more performing platforms for maestro’s like Prof Venkateswaran who is also an accomplished Indian classical violinist, to promote the highly refined art of Carnatic singing in Malaysia.