Susheela Raman


Susheela Raman was born in London in 1973 to South Indian parents. Her family moved to Australia when I was very young and were eager to keep our Tamil culture alive. She grew up singing South Indian classical music and began giving recitals at an early age. As a teenager she branched out into more blues-based music, which demanded quite different voice techniques. The question then was how to bring these streams together. In 1995 she went to India to study with Shruti Sadolikar, one of the greatest living Hindustani vocalists. This was a challenging experience as she had to let go of what she thought she knew and find a new, more insightful approach to her craft. Returning to England in 1997, she started to work with Sam Mills who had made a record called Real Sugar with a Bengali singer named Paban Das Baul. This record inspired her because it bridged a gap and found common ground for Indian music to be expressed to a new audience. Samís work with West African group Tama also opened a whole set of musical contact points. They spent three years developing this record. In addition to writing their own material, they discovered new and exciting ways to adapt the Carnatic songs she had sung when she was younger, particularly the work of the eighteenth century songmasters Tyagaraja and Dikshitar.

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