Expect heavy downpour of Carnatic Music in Auckland

Expect heavy downpour of Carnatic Music in Auckland

Annual Festival of New Zealand Carnatic Music Society from June 1

Venkat Raman

Auckland, May 11, 2019

The expression, ‘Music can move Mountains and God, cause downpours on lands that are barren, ignite the energy centres of the human body and invoke levels of spirituality among people,’ has been proved beyond a shadow of doubt over the ages.

Of these, Indian Classical Music in general has had the power to enslave emperors and create in them a sense of veneration towards performers. Carnatic Music in particular, has created a community of musicians and enthusiasts, keeping alive the finest traditions of India even in this age of electronics and noise.

Champions across Aotearoa

The New Zealand Carnatic Music Society (NZCMS) and other similar organisations in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin (and perhaps in other cities) deserve credit for their efforts to preserve and promote the traditional performing arts.

NZCMS in particular, has been the Champion of Carnatic Music, affording special opportunities, especially to youngsters to learn the art through the right means, earn recognised qualifications and become performers. In addition, the Organisation conducts ‘Sangeethothsavam’ every year to coincide with the Queen’s Birthday weekend, inviting artistes of repute and great proficiency to perform over three nights.

Their presence brings about a heavy downpour of Carnatic Music, drenching in which is ‘an exciting opportunity’ for Carnatic Music enthusiasts.

Indian Newslink Culture Awards

Indian Newslink has instituted a Special Segments for Performing Arts and Artistes in its Sixth Annual Indian Newslink Sports, Community, Arts and Culture Awards 2019. Please free to nominate any person who consider suitable. Forms can be downloaded from www.inlisa.com or www.inlscaca.com; Entries close on June 1, 2019. For further details, please call 021-836528 or email venkat@indiannewslink.co.nz

Compositions of Maestros

The Sangeethothsavam audience will be soaked by the compositions of the Trinity of Carnatic Music Thyagaraja,  Muthuswami Dikshitar and Shyama Sastri; Annamacharya, Narayana Theertha, Bhadrachala Ramadasu, Kshetrajna (or Khetrayya) Padams and Sadasiva Brahmendra.

The Annual three-day Festival will commence with the performance of  Sree Rama Prasad and Ravi Kumar, known as ‘Malladi Brothers’ on Saturday, June 1, 2019 at 530 pm, followed by the Concert of Sri Ranjani Santhanagopalan on the second day (June 2) at 530 pm, with the finale performed by Ranjani and Gayatri Sisters on Monday, June 3, 2019 at 5 pm. All of them will be accompanied by Vittala Rangan on the Violin and K V Prasad on the Mridangam and all performances will be held at the Oranga Primary School Hall, located at 21 Rangipawa Road, One Tree Hill in Auckland.

It is a matter of gratification that each of the artistes has performed in Auckland over the years and as such established their benchmarks, raising in effect audience expectations.

Festival Highlights

Among the highlights of the Festival would be performances of the students of NZCMS on June 1 and June 3  from 9 am to 1230 pm, setting the stage to showcase their level of expertise and affording an opportunity to the visiting artistes to assess their prowess.

Tickets for the Sangeethothsavam 2019, priced (per person) at $100 (Festival Pass valid for all performances), $90 (Festival Pass for Students and Seniors), $40 and $35 (Daily Pass respectively for adults and Students/Seniors) are now on sale. The accompanying poster provides all details.

Malladi Brothers

Sreerama Prasad and Ravi Kumar (From YouTube)

Sreerama Prasad and Ravi Kumar are known for powerful rendition of Ragas, a quality that they inherited from their grandfather, the Late Malladi Ramamurthy and their father Malladi Suri Babu, who belong to a family of musicians in Andhra Pradesh.

Advanced  training from Nedunuri Krishna Murthy, an exponent in Carnatic Music, helped them to hone their innovative skills and the pedagogy of Dr Sripada Pinakapani boosted their professional standards.

They are recipients of several awards including those given by ‘All India Radio,’ ‘Sri Voleti Venkateswarulu Award’ by Sri Krishna Gana Sabha and the ‘Best Concert Award’ from the Chennai Music Academy.

Sriranjani Santhanagopalan

Sriranjani Santhanagopalan (Facebook)

An energetic and versatile performer, Sriranjani Santhanagopalan is the daughter and disciple of R Santhanagopalan, one of the most prominent singers of the contemporary era. Growing up to the music of stalwarts such as Madurai Mani Iyer, Semmangudi Srinivasan and Ramnad Krishnan, her ability to raise to high levels of Carnatic Music has been proved at several concerts worldwide.

Ranjani and Gayatri Sisters

Ranjani and Gayatri Sisters (Facebook)

In a domain often characterised as elitist, esoteric, and not easily accessible to all, this brilliant sister-duo of Ranjani and Gayatri has found a way to satisfy and stimulate the cognoscenti and at the same time delight and thrill everyone.  

To achieve the magnetic status of a rock star and be viable as serious and profound practitioners of the art form is not easy in the field of Carnatic music; but these sisters have done just that with great distinction and felicity.

​Perfection of Shruti, powerful voice control, rich imagination and impeccable aesthetics which reflect the timeless values of classicism are some of the qualities that describe the music of Ranjani and Gayatri.

Vittala Rangan

Vittala Rangan (Musicearn.com)

Brilliant in academics, Vittal Rangan, a promising young violinist and a Graded Artiste of All India Radio and Doordarshan. Groomed immaculately by Guru A Kanayakumari in a style that combines aesthetics of instrumental and vocal music with a focus on vocals, Vittal has won accolades from senior artistes and is a recipient of several awards.

He also belongs to a rich musical lineage of three legends, including Ivaturi Vijeswara Rao, M Chandrasekaran and M L Vasanthakumari.

K V Prasad

K V Prasad (Courtesy: The Hindu)

A native of Ernakulam, Kerala, K V Prasad was trained in Mridangam by Narayana lyer, Parassala Ravi, and T K Murthy. Following the Thanjavur style, he also had his training in other percussion instruments such as Chenda and Edakka and Carnatic Vocal Music.

Known for his deftness and deep knowledge of rhythm, Prasad, produces finely nuanced tala on the Mridangam, resulting in brilliant performances.

He enjoys the distinction of having accompanied several great musicians including Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer, D K Pattammal, and M S Subbulakshmi. He has also played with Chitti Babu, K V Narayanaswamy, Nedunuri Krishnamurthy, T N Seshagopalan, K J Yesudas and others.

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