Nobel laureate poet Rabindranath Tagore once said: “The singer has everything within him. The notes come out from his very life. They are not materials gathered from outside.” What if the musical notes don’t come out right? What if something disrupts your perfect tune? What if you were told severe muscular problems could be detrimental to your voice? Singer-songwriter Mathangi Jagadish was in a similar dilemma after she developed excruciating pain in her shoulders. But the pain did not deter her spirits. Instead, it paved way for a rather enriching experience.
Wholistic Vocal Fitness is an interesting collaboration between Mathangi’s brainchild Wholistic Vocalist and sports medicine consultant Dr Kannan Pugazhendi’s programme Fitness Unlimited. Through this initiative, Mathangi discusses her personal experience as a singer, and the transformation she underwent to rescue her passion for singing. While Mathangi interacts from a personal standpoint, Dr Pugazhendi brings in his expertise on physical fitness and its relevance to vocal health.
In an exclusive interview with Soulveda, the duo speak of their vision and what motivated them to take the concept ahead.
How did Wholistic Vocal Fitness come to be?
Mathangi: I had been in talks with Dr Pugazhendi about starting something for singers. In January 2017, I started my platform Wholistic Vocalist, where I speak of eight cornerstones of vocal health. One of them is fitness. I knew the right person to collaborate with would be Dr Pugazhendi. His sound understanding of the mind-body-spirit connection was an added advantage.
Dr Pugazhendi: When Mathangi came to me, she was aware of how fitness was integral to achieving her goals. She bombarded me with information of what was being done in other countries in this area. She was aware of how it could be helpful for vocalists or anybody intending to use their voice to communicate well. I knew it would be an ideal goal to achieve.
Dr Pugazhendi, you specialise in sports medicine. What role does your expertise play in this initiative?
Dr Pugazhendi: Wholistic Vocalist is the domain of a vocalist. My work is to bring to the table the fitness aspect with respect to singing. For instance, the muscles around the vocal chords–internally and externally–should be relaxed, for a singer to perform well. Through regular exercise, singers can maintain their cardio-muscular strength and endurance. Also, relaxation through exercise helps singers manage stress levels. This could enhance their performance.