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SIFF Young Artiste Festival Announces National Winners After Virtual Competition

Bengaluru guitarist Tamish Pulappadi, Ujjain-based vocalist Akshita Singh Chouhan and Udupi dancer Janki D.V. took home a cash prize of ₹ 1 lakh each

Rolling Stone India Oct 22, 2021

(Clockwise from top left) SIFF Young Artiste Festival winners - Shreya V. Murthy, Akshita Singh Chouhan, Sathvik R. Bharadwaj, Aronjoy Nandan, Tamish Pulappadi and P.S. Narendren.

Following a start in January 2020, the Singhal Iyer Family Foundation (SIFF) wrapped up its SIFF Young Artiste Festival in September, crowning three main winners in instrumental, vocal and dance brackets while also awarding a total of 20 artists in other categories.

Chosen among 12,000 applications received from across India, Bengaluru-based guitarist and composer Tamish Pulappadi won in the instrumental category, while Udupi-based dancer Janki D.V. won in the dance format and Ujjain-bred vocalist Akshita Singh Chouhan won in the vocal field. They were each awarded ₹ 1 lakh, part of a larger scholarship pool of ₹ 25 lakhs disbursed to 100 finalists under Young Artiste Advanced Mentorship Programme.

Each of the winners were also given ₹25,000 each, for showing prowess in categories ranging from Bollywood dance (won by Mansi Dhruv) to sarod (won by Aronya Nandan), drums and several more.

The judges for the virtually held SIFF Young Artiste Festival were music’s seasoned and stalwart names alike – violinist-composer Dr. L Subramaniam, guitarist-composer Ehsaan Noorani, vocalist-composers Nikhita Gandhi and Shalmali Kholgade, amonst others.

Pulappadi, who has been releasing music from before and learning guitar since he was eight years old, points out how he learned under rock band Thermal And A Quarter’s Bruce Lee Mani early on. He says, “Currently, the main artists I draw my inspiration from are John Mayer and Prince for their blend of melodious vocals with incredible guitar solos.” He adds that he’s currently in the process of working with producers and songwriters for his next album.

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Sarod artist Nandan from Kolkata talks about how he was drawn to the program, “I got to know about SIFF almost accidentally while surfing on the internet during the beginning of the lockdown. All most of us suddenly got confined during that time, so our increasing amount of time spent on the internet searching for things of interest was almost inevitable.” He ended up sending a two-minute clip which sealed his place in the competition.

For Alappuzha-based Carnatic violinist P.S Narendren, the competition gave him a chance to meet Dr. L Subramaniam. He adds, “I am blessed, to have received my roadmap for the future to take up this noble profession.” Keyboardist and pianist Sathvik R. Bharadwaj from Hassan says the program too gives him confidence to see music as a profession in the near future. He adds, “We also had our own Facebook group for the hundred members, it was amazing to witness so many young fellow musicians, all of them were about my age, so they were all equally playful. This group had made little community of musicians and dancers.”

Vocalist Chouhan, for her part, is working towards becoming a playback singer in the Bollywood and Tollywood world. She adds, “I got to learn something and got experience from some prominent playback singers like Nikhita Gandhi, Ronkini Gupta, Kavita Krishnamurthy.” Hindustani vocal category winner Shreya V. Murthy has slightly different plans, “In the future, I hope to do research in raaga therapy and help people in the best way I can,” she says.

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The next season of SIFF Young Artiste is expected to launch in 2022. Check out the full list of winners of the SIFF Young Artiste Festival below.

Bharatanatyam: Janki DV from Udupi, Karnataka

Bollywood: Mansi Dhruv from Rajkot, Gujarat

Carnatic Violin: PS Narendren from Alappuzha, Kerala

Carnatic Vocal: Shyam Krishna Sateesh from Bangalore, Karnataka

Contemporary: Vishal Kumar Yadav from Darjeeling, West Bengal

Drums: TR Nikhil from Chennai, Tamil Nadu

Flute: Mohan Krishan from Faridabad, Haryana

Guitar: Tamish Pulappadi from Bangalore, Karnataka

Hindustani Vocal: Shreya V Murthy from Bangalore, Karnataka

Hip-hop: Aman Jaiswal from Patna, Bihar

Indian Vocal: Akshita Singh Chouhan from Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh

Kathak: Ananya Gaur from Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh

Mridangam: KPS Karthikeya Adinarayana Sharma from Krishna, Andhra Pradesh

Odissi: Meghna Mishra from Rourkela, Odisha

Piano/Keyboard: Sathvik R Bharadwaj from Hassan, Karnataka

Sitar / Sarod: Aronya Nandan from Kolkata, West Bengal

Tabla: Ujith Udaya Kumar from New Delhi, Delhi

Western Violin: Anthea Dias from Margao Salcete, Goa

Western Vocal: Daisuanglung Kamei from Imphal East, Manipur