Chong Chiu Sen (commonly known as Sai Madhana Mohan Kumar) is a Malaysian-born Chinese vocalist. He was an apprentice of prominent Carnatic musician, D. K. Pattammal who also adopted him as her god-grandson and named him Sai Madhana Mohan Kumar.
He was introduced to Carnatic music through Bhajans. He started formal training in Bhajan singing under the tutelage of (late) Datin Shanthi Jagadeesan and R. Vatsala in Malaysia. Chong was interested in both, playing the harmonium and singing Bhajans. He learned to play the harmonium from Sri Jullius Tan Teck Joo and continued Bhajan training with Vijayalakshmi Kulaveerasingam.
Subsequently, he studied Bharatha Natyam under Usha Srinivasan and started learning the veena under Sangeetha Kala Acharya, Kalpakam Swaminathan. Chong soon realized his reason for traveling to India were primarily to broaden his musical prowess. He had a series of negative experiences with instructors who cheated him of his savings, but eventually found D.K Pattammal. However, during their meeting her husband advised her to not accept him as a student because of her deteriorating health. Before he left, Pattammal asked him to sing for her and his rendition of "Maha Ganapathi" in raga nattai convinced her to accept him. She lateřr adopted him as her god-grandson and name him Madhana Mohan Kumar. After 2006, Chiu Sen continued his music lessons under Pattammal’s granddaughter, Gayathri Sundararaman.
Major performances and awards
- On 27 November 2015 he received an award from Padma Vibhushan Pandit Jasraj for the Pt. Jasraj — Rotary Club of Hyderabad Award for Cross Cultural Understanding in Hyderabad.
- On 22 October 2015 he performed in Sathya Sai Grama during their Athi Rudra Maha Yagnam, along with Navarathri celebrations at Muddenahalli (Karnataka, India).
- On 21 November 2013 he performed during Sri Sathya Sai Baba's 88th birthday celebration in Puttaparthi.
- In October 2013 was selected as one of the top 5 Best Devotional Song Singers by the Recording Industry Association of Malaysia (RIM) for the first Anugerah Industri Music (AIM) Indian Music Awards.
- On 1 January 2006 he performed in the 79th Annual Conference of The Music Academy in Chennai.
- On 12 November 2005 he performed during the 32nd National Festival Spirit of Unity concerts for the Universal Integration Committee.
- NAIDU, JAYWANT (2015-11-29). "'Connecting through music'". deccanchronicle.com/. Retrieved 2016-10-06.
- "Day 10 (evening) proceedings of Athi Rudra Maha Yagna, Navarathri Homa and Durga Puja". Sri Sathya Sai Vrinda.
- "The Prasanthi Reporter: Chiu Sen's Carnatic Concert and SSSIHMS Anniversary…".
- "Malaysian Chiu Sen enthrals with Carnatic music". deccanchronicle.com/.
- "Archives". The Star.