Carnatic Music Festival promises soulful experience

Venkat Raman

One should agree with Eileen Dielesen, the ‘Woman with a Dream,’ who said, “blessed are those who listen with the Heart, for they hear the music of the Soul and its melody is exquisite.”

Music must be trans-national; for irrespective of nationality, language and religious or other proclivities, one finds divinity in melody.

On that score, Carnatic Music is purity personified- purity in thought, in learning, in rendition and most important of all, in listening. How else can you explain the fact that it has thrived over centuries, creating waves across the Continents, in air and over the waters, bringing to its fold people of differing vicissitudes and tastes.

But at the end of it all, there is stillness; of mind, body and soul, in that order.

Citadel of Learning

The New Zealand Carnatic Music Society (NZCMS) is what C Rajagopalachari (Rajaji), Independent India’s first and last Governor General used to refer as ‘a Citadel where the Traditional lamps keep burning giving light and life to every generation that comes into being.’ In that spirit, the Society is the cradle in which our young boys and girls learn Carnatic Music. To them we owe our gratitude and pledge our allegiance.

Mt Roskill Intermediate School Hall located at Denbigh Avenue in Mt Roskill, Auckland will be the destination for lovers, singers and students of Carnatic Music this weekend.

Sangeethothsavam, Tenth Edition

The School auditorium will be the venue for the three-day annual ‘Sangeethothsavam 2017.’ The Festival this year, scheduled to be held from June 3 to June 5, 2017 will also mark the Tenth Anniversary of the Festival conducted by the Society.

NZCMS President Mani Narayanaswamy said that students learning music will perform during morning sessions from 9 am to 1230 pm on June 3 and June 5, 2017.

“Sangeethothsavam provides a unique opportunity to students of Carnatic Music to showcase the proficiency that they have achieved in the art. With visiting maestros, teachers and performers attending these sessions, our students also gain confidence in singing at concerts,” he said.

Visiting Artistes

Among the visiting musicians are Sampagodu S Vighnaraja (June 3 at 530 pm), P Unnikrishnan (June 4 at 530 pm) and Dr K N Renganatha Sharma (June 5 at 430 pm).

They will be accompanied by L Ramakrishnan on the Violin and Arjun Kumar on the Mridangam. The performances will be held at the same venue.

Tickets for the Festival, priced at $50 for adults and $40 for Seniors and Youth aged between five and 20 years at $40 per person for a single Concert and $100 for adults and $90 for Seniors and Youth aged between five and 20 years are on sale.

Entry is free to all current members of NZCMS.

For details, please write to

Sampagodu S Vighnaraja

A renowned Indian Carnatic Music Vocalist, Flutist and Music Composer, Sampagodu S Vighnaraja belongs to the legendary G N Balasubramaniam School.

At the tender age of three, he surprised his parents Nagalakshmi and D S Suryanarayana Bhat singing ‘Kalpanaswaram’ (improvisational swaras) for Raag Mayamalava Gowla.

His father, a composer of Krithis in Kannada and Sanskrit, initiated him into Carnatic Music.

Vighnaraja was the Head of the Instrument Section at Temple of Fine Arts in Kuala Lumpur for six years, during which he conducted workshops for students in Malaysia and at the Tainan University of Technology, Taiwan.

He is the founder director of ‘Surya Global Music Academy’ in Bangalore.

P Unnikrishnan

P Unnikrishnan was born in a Tamil Iyer family to K Radhakrishnan and Dr Harini Radhakrishnan. Their family home, ‘Kesari Kuteeram,’ was a landmark in Chennai, where his great grandfather Dr K N Kesari practised Ayurvedic medicine.

A graduate in Commerce and Law and a postgraduate diploma holder in Personnel Management and Industrial Relations, Unnikrishnan was an executive at Parry’s Confectionary Limited for seven years (1987-1994) before taking up music as his profession.

However, he began his singing career when he was 12 years old, inspired by Dr S Ramanathan.

Renganatha Sharma

Dr Shertallay K N Renganatha Sharma is a renowned vocal artiste, highly proficient in Carnatic Music. He is Associate Professor of Music at the Sri Sathguru Sangeetha Vidyalayam College and Research Centre for Music affiliated to the Madurai Kamaraj University.

He was groomed by his father K Narayana Iyer, a renowned teacher belonging to the ‘Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer’ tradition.

A top-ranking postgraduate in Music from Calicut University, Renganatha Sharma obtained his MPhil Degree from Madras University and his Doctorate from the Madurai Kamaraj University for his thesis, ‘Analytical Study on Various Laya aspects in Carnatic Music.’

As Eileen Dielesen said, “When you listen to everyone and everything from a place in your heart, you can hear your soul singing and it brings an inner joy that transcends anything that you can ever seek in the world and life begins to shine everywhere; a light that comes from within the self.”

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