Menaka is a Brisbane-based singer and songwriter. Her unique music is an intersection of traditional Indian music with contemporary and world music influences.
“Menaka oozes presence and calm and quiet confidence the minute she walks on stage and one feels the instant connection between herself and the audience…Menaka’s remarkable breath control and the power and versatility of her voice belies her small stature…” – Christine Venner-Westaway (Magda Community Artz)
Menaka studied the traditional art of South Indian (Carnatic) music from a young age of 5 from her mother, Vijaya Visvanathan, the first Indian classical music teacher in Brisbane. Menaka learnt how to access a deeper sense of connection to something bigger than just her own little self.
Music then became her meditation.
Menaka performed with her mother as a child and teenager on many musical platforms, including Woodford Folk Festival, Queensland Multicultural Festival and a multitude of community events.
As a young adult, she has been featured as a solo artist in the Folklorica program at Woodford Folk Festival, The Encounters India Festival, Festival of Tibet and Brisbane’s Yoga Fest. She has had the privilege of exploring the fusion of Indian devotional music with other world musicians, including Tibetan singer Tenzin Choegyal, Tibet2Timbuktu, and jazz guitarist Ravi Welsh.
Menaka was also a part of the world music trio “Spirit of Bhakti”, with Rebecca Bornstein and Shen Flindell. She recorded on the band’s debut album “Open Door” in 2015 and has toured with the band throughout Brisbane, Byron Bay, Sunshine Coast, Cairns, Gold Coast, Sydney and Central New South Wales.
After a sudden deterioration in her health that nearly claimed her vision, Menaka found herself writing songs to help her overcome the challenges she was facing. This was the catalyst to putting together her debut solo album, “My Eyes Can See”. Her sound is a fusion of traditional Indian vocals with contemporary and other world influences; an intersection of East and West. She launched her album on 25th May 2015 at the Queensland Multicultural Centre to a sold out audience.
“The event was a complete success, with a sold out audience totally enthralled for the duration of the show. Menaka’s performance was impressive and assured…the audience was left breathless…” Ant McKenna, BEMAC Program Manager
More recently, Menaka is enjoying exploring ways of conveying original song and narrative through theatre and movement. She presented a musical theatre production “On The Horizon” at the Anywhere Festival of 2021. Menaka is also one of the featured cast members for Brisbane Powerhouse’s “Women In Voice” for 2022.
Menaka experiences a great sense of fulfilment and freedom in being able to blend Indian and world music sounds to express emotion and personal narrative. It enables and challenges her to use my voice in different ways and explore melody and harmony with freedom and creativity.
Currently, Menaka continues to write, create, teach and perform. Her vision is to use music to create health and harmony in wider society while finding fulfillment in herself and others.