Downpour of Carnatic Music in June

Venkat Raman – 
venkat@indiannewslink.co.nz

Carnatic music lovers can expect a heavy downpour next month.

The New Zealand Carnatic Music Society (NZCMS) is putting together a three-day festival that would witness not only blossoming singers and senior artistes from our own families but also a group of professional musicians from Tamil Nadu.

The Society’s annual ‘Sangeethothsavam’ (Music Festival) will be held over the Queen’s Birthday weekend at Mt Roskill Intermediate School Hall on Denbigh Avenue.

Engaging performers

NZCMS President Mani Narayanaswamy said that the Festival will commence on Saturday, June 4, 2016 at 930 am with the performances by NZCMS students.

“The Festival will continue in the evening at the same venue at 530 pm with a Veena and Violin Concert by Dr Jayanthi Kumaresh and her husband Kumaresh Rajagopalan with J Vaidyanathan on Mridangam.

“The second day (Sunday, June 5, 2016) will feature senior artistes of the Carnatic Music Society between 3 pm and 8 pm,” he said.

Students of the Organisation will once again take the stage on Monday, June 6, 2016 from 930 pm to 1 pm, he said.

“The grand finale of this year’s Sangeethothsavam will be held in the evening with popular artistes including O S Vaidyanathan, popularly known as Arun (Vocal), Embar Kannan (Violin) and J Vaidyanathan (Mridangam),” Mr Narayanaswamy said.

Entry to the Concerts are free for current members of NZCMS. Tickets are available with several members of NZCMS (Please see advertisement in this section).

Entry Tickets

They are priced at $25 per adult, $20 for seniors and those between 8 and 18 years; combo ticket valid for all concerts priced at $45 per adult and $35 for seniors and those between 8 and 18 years.

Further information can be obtained from Mr Narayanaswamy on 027-9531077 and other members of the NZCMS.

Jayanthi Kumaresh

Downpour of Carnatic Music- Jayanthi and Kumaresh Web

Veena is not just a stringed instrument- it enjoys a state of reverence as the expressive attribute of Goddess Saraswathi. On such a note, from self-taught artistes like Sundaram Balachander and legendary Chitti Babu to present-day performers. Veena has an exalted status.

Among those who have enhanced the melody of this divine instrument is Dr Jayanthi Kumaresh, who will present a Veena Concert on June 4. Her repertoire, depth of knowledge of Carnatic Music and ability to raise the melody to new levels have brought fame and dignity to the fine arts of India.

Beginning her career on the Veena at the tender age of three, Dr Jayanthi has had the great fortune of encouragement from her mother Lalgudi R Rajalakshmi and other members of the family who were all famed violinists.

Inspired by the Veena, as a teenager, she went under the ‘Gurukulam’ of Padmavathy Ananthagopalan to begin long days of training, practice and performance.

Critics say that as a sixth generation musician Dr Jayanthi has been captivating audiences around the world for 30 years.

“Apart from several prestigious venues and festivals in India such as Sawai Gandharva Mahotsav, Gwalior Music Festival, Chennai Music Festival, she has performed at several international events such as the San Francisco Jazz Festival, Darbar Festival, Queensland Music Festival, Darwin Music Festival, Adelaide Music Festival. She has appeared at internationally known venues such as the UN General Assembly (New York), Palladium (Indiana), Theatre de la Ville (Paris) and Northwest Folklife Festival (Seattle), they said.

Kumaresh Rajagopalan

Violinists are expected to accept the challenges of main artistes such as vocalists and Veena maestros (as would be the case in Auckland) and bring out the best in them.

Violinists add value to music as accompanying artistes or as main performers, in both of which Kumaresh Rajagopalan finds his own level of excellence.

He matches up to his wife Dr Jayanthi Kumaresh and experts reviewing their concerts have often said that they share success equally.

He and brother Ganesh Rajagopalan as known as artistes, musicians, performers, composers, directors, producers, researchers and teachers but on a personal level, they consider themselves students of life and existence.

“We are on continuous search for comprehending the essential qualities of Nature’s creative idioms by connecting to it seamlessly with their own inner creative resource. We believe that musicians must redefine the art-form by the mere force of intent, practice and surrender, rather than letting scholars do that,” Mr Kumaresh said.

Trained by his father T S Rajagopalan, a veteran violinist, he completed his hundredth stage appearance before he was ten years old.

J Vaidyanathan

Downpour of Carnatic Music- J Vaidyanathan Web

In an interview published in The Hindu, Mridangam Master J Vaidyanathan (JV) paid tributes to audiences outside India for the ‘respect they show to visiting artistes by staying till the end of concerts.’

“I can stand up and play Mridangam,” he said with a chuckle. “Perhaps the audience should be asked to sit through the concert once they are in the auditorium as it happens in Europe. But them, Operas go on for just an hour, unlike our Concerts.”

Son of D K Jayaraman, one of the latest Carnatic musicians and nephew of the legendary D K Pattammal, JV learnt the fine art of Mridangam from Dr T K Murthy, who this reporter has known as an accompanying artiste to Bharat Ratna, the late Dr M S Subbulakshmi in the 1960s and 1970s.

He was the youngest Mridangam artiste to receive the prestigious ‘Kalaimamani Award’ from the Tamil Nadu government.

O S Vaidyanathan

Downpour of Carnatic Music- O S Arun Web

A gifted vocalist, O S Vaidyanathan, better known as Arun is famous for his sonorous voice that he wields with confidence and for his musical personality which he employs in tandem with his superior stage performance.

He has inherited the mantle of singing from a family in which music is a way of life. Arun was given to Carnatic Music in the Parivar Parampara and he began his music lessons under the careful ear of his father Vidwan O V Subramaniam. He later qualified Alankar Purna from Gandharva Mahavidyalaya.

He also topped the Sangeetha Shironmani diploma course in Carnatic music conducted by the Faculty of Music and Fine Arts at Delhi University.

Embar Kannan

Downpour of Carnatic Music- Embar Kannan Web

‘Embar’ is a prefix associated with some of the greatest names in music and religious and spiritual leaders. Embar Kannan (EK), a star violinist is one of them.

A postgraduate in Commerce, he has brought fame and honour to his father Embar Sadagopan who dreamt of seeing him as a concert artiste.

Acknowledged as a violinist par excellence, his style is marked by clarity, soulfulness and energy. The late Subbudu, the doyen among critics recognised EK as a prized jewel of Carnatic music.

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