‘My most favourite fabric is definitely pattu’

Singer Pragathi Guruprasad has a huge fascination for pattu sarees. This immensely talented Indian American singer, who sings both Carnatic and film music, believes being draped in silk sarees makes the Carnatic concert experience more meaningful, for both the artist and the audience.

Traditional attire adds to the culture of what we are singing and the meaning of a lot of the kritis we sing. Carnatic music is such a traditional art form that wearing sarees, especially pattu sarees, makes the experience more meaningful,” says 20-year-old Pragathi, who has been learning Carnatic music from the age of five.  

“When you are performing to such a large audience during the season, what you wear, the colours, styles, prints and fabric make such a big difference, because people are not only expecting a great musical performance but they also want to be visually excited,” elaborates Pragathi.

 Being brought up in Fremont, California, Pragathi did not get too many chances to wear sarees. And when she started wearing them, she heard stories about how uncomfortable they were. But she didn’t let this get to her. Over time, she learnt to be more comfortable with the six-yard garment. “I think a woman feels 100 times more beautiful in a saree than anything else. I have gotten used to it, wearing it during performances and functions, when I am constantly out and about. It was a little strange at first, but it gets more comfortable the more you wear it,” says Pragathi. 

When asked about her first saree, Pragathi says, with a chuckle, “My first saree was a pattu saree that I had had my eyes on for many years, which I stole from my mom. It was a saree with purple and orange checks.”

 Pragathi shot to fame in 2012 when she finished the runner-up in the third season of the reality music competition Airtel Super Singer Junior. She has since then worked on the soundtracks of film albums composed by popular music directors like Anirudh Ravichander, Santosh Narayanan, Ghibran, and G. V. Prakash Kumar. Some of the movies in which she has worked are Kadhalum Kadandhu Pogum, Rum, Paradesi and Theeran Adhikaram Ondru. Her independent releases on YouTube have collectively garnered more than 15 million views.

We wish Pragathi many more Carnatic concerts, movie albums, and, of course, pattu sarees!