Aruna Sairam

Category Vocal | Tags Carnatic vocal



Aruna Sairam’s voice brings a husky authority to modern Carnatic song. She first learnt to sing by listening to her mother and is part of a long line of female musicians. The direct teaching lineage stretches back over 200 years, to the singers and dancers of the Tamil court.

She is an exponent of ‘pure’ Carnatic singing but also looks outwards, with collaborations ranging from jazz and Sufi to Gregorian chant and film scores. She sings in 12 different languages, and vice-chairs the Sangeet Natak Akademi, India’s premier national music and dance institution.

She pulls no punches when it comes to the psychological obstacles faced by female musicians today: “You’re constantly told you’re not good enough…it can be more difficult to be in touch with your inner talents, as society expects women to nourish others first.”


—Listen to Aruna Sairam in London, at Guru Nanak’s Message of Peace Through Music (Sun 24th May 2020). Leading Sikh, Hindu and Muslim artists unite to perform sacred music at the Southbank - proceeds to deprivation charity NishkamSWAT and Zero Hunger with Langar, providing meals in Malawi. Tickets here!


"Music is an expression of love and trust...but many times I almost gave up."


• Darbar Player: If short clips aren't enough...watch Aruna’s full-length versions of Shanmukhapriya and Simhendramadhyamam on the Darbar Player. We’re a small not-for-profit, and filming, editing, and hosting cost money - so subscribing costs $5/month, which we hope is an excellent price for such a wealth of unique music.


—Also see Living Traditions: 21 articles for 21st-century Indian classical music, our new series exploring how music with ancient roots continues to innovate in a fast-paced, interconnected modern world. Expand your appreciation!


Darbar Arts & Heritage believes in the power of Indian classical music to stir, thrill, and inspire. To find out more, get the Darbar newsletter, explore our YouTube channel, or sign up to the Darbar Player to watch extended festival performances in pristine HD quality.


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About Darbar:

Founded in 2006, Darbar Arts Culture Heritage Trust (Darbar) believes in the power of Indian classical arts to stir, thrill and inspire. Through digital connectivity, shared experiences and enrichment we ensure that one of the finest art forms reaches the widest possible audience.

Darbar delivers premium quality live events, music education, broadcasts and digital engagement through artistic innovation and creative technology. We are also committed to providing a platform for new talent from the UK and India.

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