Akkarai S Sornalatha is a prodigious Indian classical (Carnatic) violinist and vocalist whose soulful music has captivated the hearts of music lovers worldwide.
Sornalatha hails from a musical family; her grandfather Suchindram Shri S P Sivasubramaniam was a multifaceted musician renowned as a violinist, vocalist, composer, and teacher; and her grandmother Smt R Sornambal was a Harikatha exponent and music teacher. Sornalatha is the disciple of her father, Akkarai Shri S Swamynathan, a veteran violinist and teacher who runs the Swara Raga Sudha school of music. Under his intensive training, she made her concert debut by the tender age of eight. She has also benefited greatly from the experience and constant guidance of her elder sister, the renowned violinist and vocalist Akkarai S Subhalakshmi, and, performing together as ‘Akkarai Sisters’, they hold the unique distinction of being highly sought-after as both vocalists and violinists worldwide. Sornalatha also trained under Shri O V Subramaniam and his daughter Smt Padma Natesan of New Delhi, and later on under Padmabhushan Shri P S Narayanaswamy and chitravina maestro Shri N Ravikiran.
Sornalatha’s acclaimed style of playing, characterized by a sweet tone and sensitive fingering, is a confluence of intellect and aesthetics. She has also touched the hearts of many through her vocal music with her soulful and creative style. She has played with several leading musicians such as Chitravina N Ravikiran, T M Krishna, Shrimushnam V Raja Rao, Hyderabad Sisters, P Unnikrishnan, and many others, and is known for her skill in blending with the music and enhancing it artfully. She has toured widely in India and abroad, including North America, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, UK, Switzerland, Ireland, Spain, and so on. She gave a special duet concert with her sister for the Emperor and Empress of Japan and the Chief Minister and Governor of Tamil Nadu in 2013. She has given talks and lecture-demonstrations on Carnatic music and Indian classical violin at Trivandrum Music College, Hamsaa (Chennai), for music school students in Sweden, and so on.
Sornalatha is a gold medalist graduate in MA music from the University of Madras, and her many other honours include Kalashree, Sangeetha Bhaskara, Yuva Kala Bharathi, the Vipanchee Award, Isai Chemmal (Trinity Mirror, 2012), the gold medal at the national intercollegiate competition at Kurukshetra (2005-06 academic year), the first prize in the Shanthi Arts Foundation & Endowment’s Ragam Tanam Pallavi competition (2008), the Best Violinist award from the Indian Fine Arts Society (2007), and many more. She also received the Shanmukha Sangeeta Shiromani from the Shanmukhananda Sabha Mumbai together with her sister in 2009. She is an A-grade artiste for All India Radio.
She has released many duet albums with her sister, such as ‘Ananda Tandavam’, a vocal duet in their early teens, as well as ‘Double Bow’, ‘Inta Saukhyam’, and Charsur’s ‘December Season’ 2012 & 2013. A highly sought-after guru, she has benefited students around the world with her knowledge and insight.
She attributes all her success to her gurus, especially her father Akkarai Shri S Swamynathan, who established her as a musician and continues to guide her.