A percussionist, singer and composer, Charu Hariharan is a multi-faceted musician. Born into a musical family 1989 in Kerala, India she started learning South Indian Classical music initially from her grandfather Sri. Bhagavatheeswara Iyer and later from her mother and renowned singer, Dr. B. Arundhathi. Her parents discovered her passion for rhythm in childhood and started learning Mridangam under her guru Sri. Mannarkoil J. Balaji from the age of 10. She was the first female to win the CCRT scholarship for Mridangam and started performing for concerts since the age of 14.
She started travelling abroad since 2005, accompanying her mother on Khanjira (south indian frame drum) for a tour in Lagos, Nigeria. Since then, she has been collaborating with various artists around the globe. She was a part of the quartet named ‘O! Shakuntala’ lead by Master Slide Guitarist and Grammy Nominee Pt. Debashish Bhattacharya. The band released their album in 2010 and travelled to prestigious festivals in Europe and Asia. In the same year, Charu also received a scholarship to participate in the world music camp in Sweden called the ‘Ethno Sweden’ and was the first Indian to be chosen for the ‘Ethno on the Road’ concert series.
She is a member of the World Folk Ensemble band ‘Varldens Band’ consisting of 14 musicians from 6 different countries and the band has been touring extensively in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, UK and Scotland since 2013. The band has been nominated twice for the World and Folk Music Awards, Sweden and currently released their second album named ‘Dadja Lo’. Charu is a part of a World Jazz septet led by Carola Ortiz from Spain and is also a part of her album ‘Spirala’. She has performed on two tracks of Anandi Bhattacharya’s international album ‘Joys Abound’ (Riverboat Records). Besides being active as a Mridangam player in the Classical Indian context Charu has performed twice in the prestigious Women of Rhythm – the only percussion festival for women in India. Recently won the best percussionist award from Ustad Taufiq Qureshi in 2019 in the event ‘Rhythmology’
Charu has performed with artists such as Pt. Debashish Bhattacharya, Ale Moller, Ustad Taufiq Qureshi, Dr.K. Omanakutty, Mats Öberg, Rene Lacaille and Marco Lacaille, Pt. Debashish Bhattacharya, Stephen Devassy, M. Jayachandran, Mattannur Sankarankutty, Balabhaskar, Rajhesh Vaidya, Santhosh Chandran, to name a few.
Charu is also a music producer, arranger and lyricist. She worked as an assistant to National award winning Music Composer M Jayachandran a couple of years and has independently worked since, on jingles, documentaries short films and singles. One of her documentaries ‘Iravilum Pakalilum Odiyan’ was premiered in the presigious International Film Festival of India (IFFI, Goa).