"Voyages Through Sounds"
Sajna Thiruvambadi is an avid enthusiast of Carnatic music and a talented artist from Thiruvambadi, Kozhikode. She experienced a deep attachment to music from her early childhood. Currently she works as a music teacher in Kinasherry Higher Secondary School, Calicut. In spite of the challenges posed by partial vision since childhood, she was able to manage everything by herself including her Board exams. Unfortunately fate struck her in the form of complete blindness around the time she was pursuing pre degree. This unpredicted turn of events drained the last smear of color from the young girl’s life. This catastrophe however did not stop her from continuing her experiments with music.
“When I was a baby my parents used to place me next to the radio to stop me from crying. They knew music from the radio gave me comfort”, she says. Sajna elaborates to us details of the many youth festivals she participated in school. Her list of accolades is endless. In 2003 she got the first prize in Mappila Pattu (Muslim Folk Song) on the state youth festival of Kerala. Even while in college she bagged various prizes at zonal youth festivals. Sajna specialized in music for her graduation at the Government College Chittur, Palakkad.
She has also participated in reality shows and was able to perform in many stage-shows. Sajna was the winner of the famous reality show Mappila Pattu which was telecasted by Jaihind TV in 2010. Later, she got an opportunity to participate in Idea Star Singer- one of the top-rated music reality shows telecasted by Asianet channel. “Although I was not able to make a breakthrough in Idea Star Singer, I got the opportunity to interact with many music legends like K.S Chitra, K.J Yesudas, Hariharan, Anuradha Sreeram etc.”,Sajna recalls.
“It is really unfortunate that the society is still so narrow-minded even in the 21st century”, Sanja laments. She added that she strongly suspects hidden agenda behind Jaihind T V’s reality show which gave out the impression that they were marketing her disability to gain better rating during a time of competition for TRP and higher number of SMS.
She becomes exuberant as she talks about the requirement of assistive devices for disabled musicians like her. She said there are many assistive support utilities that help persons with disabilities to function smoothly and also to enhance their skills. She introduced to us a software called ‘Audacity’ (audacityteam.org) which gives extreme quality and perfection to edit unplugged music videos. According to Sajna, Audacity gives almost similar perfection that of a recording studio. She also suggested the need for a software or a device that can holistically help her to record classes- Something that can inform her about the positions of frame, elevations and objects which are on the frame.
It was Sajna’s school teacher Lissie Rocky who discovered her talent and encouraged her to specialize in music. Although she started training professionally from third grade, she could not continue due to issues with vision. Likewise, the singer was unable to pursue her dream of doing M. Phil in Carnatic music because of the same reason. She dropped her academic dreams and looked for a livelihood through teaching.
"I am thankful for the many opportunities I have gotten to share the stage with music legends like SP Balasubramaniam and Vani Jayaram. My inclination is towards the music of the 80’s and the 90’s. However recent trends expect the singers to not only sing, but also to perform amidst the crowd. The audience and the coordinators require high energy performances even from the singers. At times it feels like people don’t come to music performances for the music anymore! It is quite disheartening because persons like disabilities like me are not able to reach those standards and are consequently excluded from stage shows and music troupes. This approach of the public towards music must be changed.”, she opines