Notes of virtuosity
October 8-14, 2000

Like the Skylark, immortalized by Shelley, the voice of Sunanda Sharma has an ethereal quality that transcends beyond time and space. The ace vocalist needs no instrument to accompany the melodious notes flowing from the depths of her heart.

The disciple of Girija Devi, Sunanda began singing at the age of five, training under her father, Pandit Sudarshan Sharma, a violinist. Born in Dah near Pathankot in Himachal Pradesh, she majored in Indian classical vocal from the Punjab University and came out with flying colours.

It was at Baba Harivallabh Sammelan in Jallandhar in 1990 that she met her Guru Ginija Devi and then began an eight-year-long tapasya and a dream was realized. Girija Devi took Sunanda to the holy city of Banaras where Sunanda began learning Indian classical vocal under the guru-shishya parampara. It was a gradual shift from the Punjab Gharana to acquiring the style of the Banaras Gharana. Khayal, tappa, thumri, dadra, hori, gajri, chaiti - Sunanda deftly picked up the finer nuances of each, much to the admiration of her guru. She is at ease with both the classical as well as the semi-classical styles of singing. "It is only with the blessings of my guru that I am able to sing the Charon Pat ki Gayaki, which otherwise is difficult to master", says Sunanda.

At the Tansen Samaroh in Gwalior, Girija Devi was bestowed the Tansen Award and Sunanda was more than pleased to sing in honour of her guru. Sunanda shares a mother-daughter relationship with her guru and Banaras is now second home to her. After her ganda bandhan, a tradition associated with music, she went to England and gave her first solo performance in April, 2000 at the concert 'Generation Y2K' Later, in August, she, a young artist, was for the first time invited as a visiting professor to the University of London to teach music.

Sunanda has much more to her credit than her voice. She is the Audition incharge for Sa Re Ga Ma and Antakshri on Zee TV and shall shortly be featured as a guest artist in Sa Re Ga Ma; has sung for a Punjabi Film 'Mirza Sahiba'; was interviewed by Radio BBC in 1998; is on the panel of SPICMACAY and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) and had received the Outstanding Young Person Award from Indian Junior Chamber in Chandigarh in 1990.