The Mangalore-based sisters M.S. Lavanya and M. S. Subbulakshmi, perhaps the first women saxophonists in India, breathe music. Following in the footsteps of their guru, Kadri Gopalnath, these young ladies have been playing Carnatic music on the saxophone. After enthralling an audience at Karthika Tirunal Hall, Thiruvananthapuram, in a concert organised by Space Centre Arts Society, the sisters shared their thoughts on their music.
They started learning vocal music under Nagaveni of Mangalore at the age of six. Their interest in the saxophone was an acquired taste. As kids, they used to accompany their father, M.R. Sainath, a mridangam artiste, to concerts where he played the percussion for Kadri Gopalnath. They fell in love with the saxophone when they saw their guru Gopalnath doing wonders on this wind instrument. They became his disciples at the age of 15.
They hail from a family of musicians. Their grandfather, also a mridangam exponent, was court musician at the Mysore palace. Their brother M.S. Sudhindra also plays the saxophone. They have performed in Sri Lanka, the United Kingdom (U.K.) and Singapore. In the U.K., they participated in the Bath International Music Festival 2005 and gave a lecture demonstration on `Adapting Carnatic Music on the saxophone.' The foreign stages have been inspiring and they have always won a lot of encouragement.