Kids Corner


Sikh-American From Kansas Follows Carnatic Music Trail:
S Y Singh





With his turban, moustache and beard, he stands out regal in the crowd of silk sarees and dhoties at the Music Academy. However, the physical appearance of S.Y. Singh does not make him an alien to Carnatic music.

The Sikh-American Sardar from Kansas City, USA, has been visiting Chennai, India, since 1999, enjoying piping hot South-Indian coffee and crisp vadas.

“I am no stranger to Carnatic music and Telugu as I was born and raised in Hyderabad,” says the 74 year-old who has been an American since 45 years. He is the retired Director of Finance of Marriot International.

“Our ancestors came to Hyderabad during the reign of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, when there was a confrontation between the Hindus and Muslims. They stayed back. You know our mothers are not Punjabis,” laughs SY Singh, who organises a reunion with his classmates every year in Hyderabad.

He plans his December visit around August or September every year and travels to other cities in the country to attend different music festivals.

“If the Music Academy or Hotel Woodlands don’t hear from me by September, they call me asking about my plans!” he says, while gratefully acknowledging the generosity of N. Ram, the former Editor-in-Chief of The Hindu, who gave him his mother’s season ticket for three years.

SY Singh comments on the Telugu diction of some of the artistes but says he has always enjoyed M.S. Subbulakshmi’s pronunciation of Telugu words. “She used to take help from Nedunuri Krishnamurthy when it came to singing Telugu kritis,” he says admiringly.

Balle balle!


[Courtesy: The Hindu newspaper. Edited for]

December 17, 2012



Conversation about this article

1: Kanwarjeet Singh (USA), December 17, 2012, 11:20 AM.

Sikhs always blend in, yet stand out. I have never known a Sikh who did not pick up the language of the region he is living in - Tamil, Telugu, Gujarati, Marathi, Bengali, Dutch, Spanish, Malay, Swahili - no limit to their versatility and adaptability. Proud of you, S Y Singh ji.

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S Y Singh"

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