Siblings can even make practise fun!

Credit: Mid-Day

This picture and the following excerpt is from the Sunday Mid-Day article entitled: Three siblings tell us what it is like to play together, in music and in life, written by Benita Fernando, and published on June 17, 2018.

It showcases three sets of siblings who follow their musical passion up with hard work, and shows us what talent and dedication can result in. All three sets have very interesting stories to tell, and can inspire all you kids out there with all your talent! There is no substitute for practise, but sometimes practise can be really fun when you share it with your friends and family!

The full article can be accessed at:

In the living room of their Colaba house, Aaliya, Nisha and Naima Ramakrishnan are ready to play a piece for us — a trio by Charles Dancla. Fourteen-year-old Aaliya, the eldest sister, is on her violin and gives them a go ahead with a gentle nod. Then comes the ripple of the Kawai piano and the earthy sway of a three-fourth cello by 12-year-old twins Nisha and Naima. The ensemble’s sound fills the room, and we are pretty sure their neighbours would have relished the classical notes wafting into their homes. They call themselves The Ramakrishnan Trio.

“We wanted to call ourselves The Frangipani Three, because we love the flower,” says Aaliya. However, their current name came about more organically, from their teachers at NCPA. “When we enter class, the teachers say, ‘The Ramakrishnans are here.’ They weren’t fiddling with names like frangipani.” This morning, all three are dressed in matching floral dresses and wreaths for an impromptu session for us. They wear their closed shoes a little grudgingly, but are completely at ease with their instruments. We saw The Ramakrishnan Trio first perform Klengel’s Kindertrio a few weeks ago for the public at the NCPA, having done school concerts before. Their teachers got them to practise simpler arrangements initially, such as Twinkle Twinkle, before moving on to more complex ones. “It made sense for us to come together. There are more music groups in school, but it’s difficult to practise because they are at different ends of the city. The easiest part about playing as a trio is that we are sisters. We are one unit,” says Naima.

“Playing solo is more stressful because the focus is on you. As a trio we can depend on each other,” says her twin, Nisha. On the request of a neighbour, they played Pachelbel’s Wedding March, and also Neapolitan Dance from Swan Lake for their grandparents’ wedding anniversary. They have also been making videos for their mother, children’s writer Shabnam Minwalla. “It’s more enjoyable when we play together — we are able to look at each other and interact better,” says Naima. All three study at the Bombay International School, and started training in music at a very young age. They had a range of instruments to choose from, but when you see them as a trio, you may feel that each instrument has found the right owner. It’s almost like The Sorting Hat from Harry Potter did the job for them. Naima likes the dynamism of the piano, while Nisha loves how grounded a cello feels, and Aaliya found her sound in the violin.

“As students, we are asked to learn the piano for a while, to understand composition and accompaniment,” says Nisha. However, when she had to go for classes, her twin tells us, Nisha would develop mysterious ailments. “She doesn’t like the piano or the violin!” the sisters exclaim. Nisha’s hands, in fact, bear the marks of a young cellist — her left hand fingers, which stretch on the strings, are far longer than the right. “I cannot wait to start playing a full cello but I will have to wait” she says. “We chat a lot with each other and also confide in each other. But, that leads to arguments too,” says Aaliya. Usually, it’s the pianist against the violinist, we are told. “I think it’s because we try to steer the practise in our direction,” says Aaliya. The cellist, instead of playing peacemaker, resorts to her favourite activity, reading.




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