Debut vocalist transcends entertainment to spirituality

Debut vocalist transcends entertainment to spirituality

Meenakshi Iyer
The debut vocal performance of Arabi Jeyashankar held on Saturday, February 29, 2020 at Dorothy Winstone Centre (Auckland Girls Grammar School) was a display of innate talents of this promising young Carnatic music singer.
It would be an understatement to say that Arabi excelled in her performance. She mesmerised the enlightened audience of nearly 700 music enthusiasts on that memorable evening.

Meenakshi (Meena) Iyer (Picture Supplied)

Arabi’s dedication, determination and devotion to this classical form of music was exceptionally displayed at every stage.
Enlightening audience
Carnatic music is an art form and a science by itself with the nuances explained analytically and above all with precise mathematical calculations. It is just not for entertainment, but filled with spirituality and the sole purpose is to enlighten the audience.
Born and brought up in New Zealand, Arabi was fortunate to be exposed and to explore the horizons of music at a young age. She had her initial training under Dr Padma Govardhan and later under the tutelage of Kalaimamani Rajeswari of Chennai.
The evening’s repertoire included rare gems of compositions and selection of Ragams and songs were excellent. Full justice was done to each piece by Arabi.
We could feel the energy flowing on the stage. Everyone seemed calm, serene and blissful.
Arabi rendered compositions like ‘Swaminatha Paripaalayaa’ by Muthusamy Dikshitar, ‘Nannu Kanna Thalli’ by Saint Tyagaraja, ‘Sarojadbala Nethri’ by Shyama Sastri.
She was at her best when she rendered Yaman Kalyani Ragam in ‘Bhavayami Gopala Balam’ and reminded me of the late Bharata Ratna Dr M S Subbulakshmi.
‘Ragam, Tanam, Pallavi’ in Shanmukhapriya was rendered proudly by the young artiste.
The composer was her Guru Rajeswari.
Programme highlights
A few highlights of the evening’s program were ‘Kavadi Sindhu,’ ‘Sai Bhajan,’ ‘Meera Bhajan’ in Darbari Kanada and ‘Chinnanchiru Kiliye’ by the great Tamil poet Subramanya Bharatiyar.
The audience was left spell bound by ‘Thillaanna’ in Madhuvanthi Ragam.
The accompanying artistes of great calibre, motivated and encouraged Arabi to come out with a splendid performance.
Anantha Krishnan on the Violin was commendable. Dr K Murali was excellent on the Ghatam. He was indeed very supportive of Arabi.
Avinash Jeyashankar was played brilliantly on the Mridangam. He is a student of Suresh Ramachandran and brother of Arabi.
Tambura by Deeksha and Aarthi (Arabi’s sister) was delightful.
Dr Mala Nataraj gave a detailed musical analysis of the event.
Anusha Suresh, a talented young artist was at her best as the Master of Ceremonies.
Her knowledge in classical art forms was evident in her commentary about the performance.
Arabi has begun her musical journey and I am sure she will keep exploring the wider horizons of Indian classical music.
Guru Kalaimamani Rajeswari presented a certificate to Arabi.
The Concert went on smoothly and packed audience appreciated and applauded every song.
The five-and-half hours need not have been interrupted by an interval.
Arabi will go places and make her supportive family, Gurus and the community proud.
About Kalaimamani Rajeswari
Subramanian Rajeswari is the first recipient of the ‘Kalaimamani Award’ presented by the Tamil Nadu government in 1984.
Trained by Carnatic Music masters such as Tanjore Balasubramaniam, Ramnad Krishnan, Madurai N Krishnan, S Rajam, and D K Jayaraman, she earned MPhil degree for her dissertation on the ‘Pada Varnams’ of Lalgudi G Jayaraman.
A top-ranking artiste of All India Radio, Ms Rajeswari began her teaching career as a Lecturer and later became a Professor and Principal-in-Charge at the Chennai based Government Music College.
She taught vocal music at the Indira Gandhi Centre for Indian Culture, Mauritius.
Ms Rajeswari has also excelled in Nattuvangam and vocal music for Bharata Natyam and Kuchipudi. She has performed with renowned artists in notable dance festivals across the world.
Meenakshi (Meena) Iyer Meenakshi Iyer (Meena Venki) is a teacher, with unquenchable interest in the performing of arts of India and reviews music, dance and other programmes of the Indian community. She lives with her husband in Auckland.

Arabi Jeyashankar in concert
‘Kavadi Sindhu’ was a highlight of Arab Jeyashankar’s concert
(Pictures Supplied)

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