Muscat: When Manjari Rajendran takes to the stage to sing Omani national songs, she will have accomplished one of her lifelong dreams.
The 29-year-old, who was raised in Muscat and is a former pupil of Indian School Al Wadi Al Kabir, has been invited to perform Omani national songs at the Directorate General of Transport for the 47th National Day celebrations, and despite having performed all over the world, this is an event which is sure to stay with her always.
“I was raised in Oman, and I had gone to classical music classes since the age of five,” recalled Manjari, speaking exclusively to the Times of Oman. “We had to learn Arabic for about four years in school, but it wasn’t until some time after that, that I really took a liking to music.”
Manjari was invited by Muscat Municipality, and flown in from India, where she is currently training to specialise in Hindustani classical music.
“I wanted to be a doctor, but my mother really wanted me to pursue classical music,” she explained. “I went to Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala to complete my post-graduation in classical music, before I then moved to Mumbai to learn Hindustani music as well. I am a really obedient child, so I did what my parents asked of me, but looking back, I have absolutely no regrets about pursuing my passion.
“Muscat Municipality knew my father, and because social media is just so powerful these days, they saw some videos of me singing in Arabic,” added Manjari.
“They found out that I had lived here and studied in Oman, so they sent an invite to my father, asking him if I would be able to perform here. Because I was raised in Oman and have spent so much of my life here, being invited here to sing is just a dream come true.”
Her talents were honed by famed Pakistani ghazal singer Khalid Anwar Jaan, who was based in Muscat, after she had also been tutored by famed classical singer KJ Yesudas, a household name among the Indian expat community in Oman and back home, in addition to the legendary Tamil composer Ilaiyaraaja, who is also the first Asian to compose a full symphony for the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. “I think that I am quite fortunate to be taught by so many of the legends of south Indian cinema,” said Manjari.
“Having learned so much from them and after being given this opportunity to follow my passions, I realise that it is very important for people to motivate themselves, because there are plenty of obstacles and distractions that you will face along the way, but you need to focus on what’s important
Having performed in Europe, the Far East, the Middle East, and the Americas, Manjari will have performed in all seven of the world’s continents, once she visits Australia next March. Until then, though, she has plenty to keep her occupied.
“I also produce my own albums, so that’s keeping me busy at the moment, and I am also working on songs for a few Hindi films,” she revealed. “There’s also been work in the South Indian film industry. It might sound like a lot, but I have just begun my career, and there is still a long way to go.
“But I believe that with hard work and the blessings of the Almighty, anyone can make their passions a success.”