• Stree Taal Tarang: When Women Beat Percussion

    C S Lakshmi in conversation with Sukkanya Ramgopal

    March 8, 2019

    Every cultural breakthrough by women must be celebrated. On March 8 Indian Cultural Forum pays tribute to ghatam player Vidushi Sukkanya Ramgopal and her disciple Sumana Chandrashekar along with mridangam player Lakshmi Pillai, and morching  player Bhagyalakshmi M Krishna.

    The following is a conversation between C S Lakshmi and Sukkanya Ramgopal, excerpted from The Singer and the Song, published by Kali for Women in 2000.

    This is a part of the series of posts, leading up to the International Women's Day, that the Indian Cultural Forum is dedicating to women asserting change in cultural, economic, and socio-political spaces.

    Read more:
    In Conversation with Ghatam Player Sukkanya Ramgopal
    Morching Player Bhagyalakshmi M. Krishna Talks to Guftugu
    In Conversation with Mridangam Player Lakshmi Pillai
    Breaking Taboos, One Note at a Time: Sumana Chandrashekar talks to the Indian Cultural Forum
    When Women Play the Ghatam
    Voices of Clay: The Musical Journey of the Ghatam

    Ambai is the pseudonym of C.S. Lakshmi, one of the foremost writers of Tamil fiction. In addition to her writing, C.S. Lakshmi has been an independent researcher in Women’s Studies for the last thirty-five years. She is currently the Director of SPARROW (Sound & Picture Archives for Research on Women).
    Sukkanya Ramgopal is one of the frontline musicians of India and the first woman ghatam artist of the country. Her commitment to breaking new ground has inspired her to play the Ghata Tharang with 6-7 ghatams of different shruthis, thereby creating a unique melody on a percussion instrument. Read her full bio here.

    Sumana Chandrashekar is a carnatic vocalist and ghatam player. She has studied vocal music and the ghatam under Vidushi Rupa Sridhar and Vidushi Sukkanya Ramgopal. She currently works as Senior Programme Officer responsible for the Arts Practice programme at the India Foundation for the Arts. 
    Lakshmi Pillai is one of the few female mridangam players of India. Daughter of mridanga vidwan Sri.Gurumurthy Thangavelu, Lakshmi hails from a family of musicians. She is the disciple of Padmabhushan Dr. T. V Gopalakrishnan.
    Bhagyalakshmi M. Krishna is India’s only woman morching player. She is the daughter and disciple of morching exponent Vid. Dr. L. Bhimachar. Bhagyalakshmi has widely performed in India and abroad.


    The interview has been excerpted from Singer and the Song written by CS Lakshmi, published by Kali for Women, 2000. Republished here with permission from the author.

    Donate to the Indian Writers' Forum, a public trust that belongs to all of us.