Tag Archives: Indian classical music

The Indian Music Confluence – A Grand Performance of Carnatic Veena and Hindustani Flute

Vidushi Saraswati Rajagopalan is set to perform on Carnatic veena followed by Pandit Kailash Sharma on the Hindustani flute on Saturday, March 23rd, 2019 at 7:00 p.m. (19:00) in New Delhi.

Saraswati Rajagopalan
Kailash Sharma

They are accompanied by:  Manohar Balatchandirane on mridangam; Shambunath Bhattacharjee on tabla; and Varun Rajasekharan on ghatam.

Venue: Amaltas
Indian Habitat Centre – Lodhi Road
New Delhi 110003

All are cordially invited
RSVP: +91 9818300445

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Anoushka Shankar to Perform in Durham and Miami

Celebrated sitar player Anoushka Shankar is currently touring the United States. The tour includes concerts in Durham, North Carolina (Carolina Theater & Duke Performances) and Miami (South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center & Rhythm Foundation).

Anoushka Shankar is a leading performer of the Indian classical tradition. Her legendary father Ravi Shankar introduced Indian classical music and the sitar to the West.

Anoushka Shankar

Anoushka studied sitar under her father from a very young age, and like him continued on to broaden Indian musical horizons. A world music pioneer, Anoushka Shankar continues her father’s legacy of crossing cultural and musical boundaries, with collaborations with the world’s leading classical orchestras, flamenco, jazz and world music acts, and pop artists as diverse as Sting, M.I.A., and her half-sister Norah Jones.

Accompanied by a remarkable ensemble for these performances, Anoushka Shankar returns to her roots with an intimate concert of meditative Indian classical ragas.

Anoushka Shankar’s discography includes Anoushka (1998),
Anourag (2000), Live at Carnegie Hall (2001), Rise (2005),
Breathing Under Water (2007), Traveller (2011), Traces of You (2013), Home (2015), Ravi & Anoushka Shankar Live In Bangalore, 2 CD + DVD ( 2015), Land of Gold ( 2016) and the anthology Reflections (2019).

More about Anoushka Shankar.

South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center & Rhythm Foundation
Sunday, March 17th, 2019, 7:00 p.m.
South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center
10950 SW 211 St, Cutler Bay, FL 33189
https://smdcac.org/events/anoushka-shankar

Carolina Theater & Duke Performances
Thursday, March 21, 2019, 8:00 p.m.
Carolina Theatre of Durham
https://dukeperformances.duke.edu/events/anoushka-shankar/

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Artist Profiles: Anoushka Shankar

Anoushka Shankar

Anoushka Shankar was born on June 9, 1981 in London, England. Anoushka is the daughter of the late Indian sitar master Ravi Shankar, and she is the first and only sitarist in the world trained completely by him.

Growing up in London, New Delhi and, later, Encinitas, California, Anoushka at first resisted the legacy of the sitar, a complex and ancient instrument with between 17 and 21 strings. Anoushka learned her first Indian songs and dances from her mother, Sukanya, and she became her father’s student at the age of nine. Her initial dislike of the specially built “baby sitar” on which she cut her musical teeth gave way to a love of the instrument and the music. She made her performing debut at age 13.

Ravi Shankar guided his daughter through her emergence as a performer and as a recording artist, writing and producing the five works she plays on Anoushka, her debut album. For Anourag, her second recording, Anoushka once again performed music written and produced by her father. This time, Ravi Shankar also joined Anoushka as performer.

When Ravi Shankar’s friend and protégé George Harrison first worked with Anoushka in 1997 — when she conducted on the Chants of India album — he saw that she had inherited not only her father’s virtuosity but also his musical soul. “Most people are musicians simply because they play a certain instrument when they play that instrument, the music appears,” Harrison said. “But Ravi — to me, he is the music; it just happens to be that he plays the sitar. And it’s like that with Anoushka. She just has that quality. She could play the banjo, and it wouldn’t matter – she is the music.”

The release of Anourag coincided with the extensive “Full Circle” tour of the United States, in which Anoushka and Ravi Shankar performed together in concert in celebration of Ravi’s 80th birthday and the 70th anniversary of the beginning of his career in music. On August 15th, India’s Independence Day, Anoushka performed alone in New York at Summerstage in Central Park. Throughout the tour, she shared the stage with her father, performing his Sitar Concerto No. 1 and conducting master classes.

Anourag continued the Shankar family’s extraordinary presence in the world of Indian classical music. The recording’s six tracks feature traditional ragas that reflect Ravi Shankar’s influence on both the composition and performance of sitar music. In his first new recording as performer in several years, Ravi Shankar joined Anoushka on “Pancham Se Gara,” the final track on Anourag. In addition to her father, Anoushka was joined on the recording by Bikram Gosh on tabla and mridangam, Tanmoy Bose on tabla.

After graduating from high school with high honors in 1999, Anoushka decided to delay her entry to college to tour the world once again with her father. Highlights of their 1999 schedule included performances together at London’s Barbican Theatre and at the Evian Festival in France, where Anoushka joined the world-renowned cellist Mstislav Rostropovich in playing the world premiere of a new work for cello and sitar by Ravi Shankar.

In 1998, the British Parliament presented Anoushka with a House of Commons Shield in recognition of her artistry and musicianship — at 17, she was the youngest as well as the sole female recipient of this honor. She toured extensively with Ravi throughout her cultural homeland of India, as well as Europe, Asia and the United States. In 1998, Anoushka played at Peter Gabriel’s WOMAD Festival in Seattle, at Carnegie Hall and in a special concert at New York’s Town Hall. Anoushka also joined her father in London in March 1997 for a historic performance of his Concerto No. 1 for Sitar and with Zubin Mehta conducting the London Symphony Orchestra.

Rise, Anoushka Shankar’s fourth album for Angel Records, marked a defining moment in the career of the young musician in 2005. Having previously recorded strictly in the classical tradition, Anoushka emerged as a potent creative force. “It’s very much my own music and my journey and who I am right now,” said Anoushka, who turned 24 in June of 2005 “I felt that on a personal level, Rise signifies growth.

Anoushka Shankar – Photo credit Simonyc

On Rise-which was composed, produced and arranged by Anoushka-she collaborated with a select crew of virtuoso Eastern and Western musicians wielding a variety of both acoustic and electronic instruments often engaging in unexpected ways to create tantalizing new sounds.

Having toured almost non-stop since her adolescence, in addition to attending school until her graduation from high school in 1999, Anoushka felt that she needed a break and elected to take 2004 off. But her vacation quickly became a working one as concepts were planted for the album that ultimately became Rise.


Anoushka Shankar – Rise

“I was going to go disappear for a while but wouldn’t you know it, I made an album,” she says “The sabbatical gave me the space to take risks. It was really an organic, natural experience. I was traveling from India to the States and meeting friends and adding people along the way. It was really beautiful.”

From the first notes of “Prayer In Passing,” which opens Rise, it becomes instantly clear that Anoushka is on to something inspiring and uncommon here. The track features Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, a renowned Indian slide guitarist alongside the flamenco-style piano of Ricardo Miño, Pedro Eustache’s bansuri flute and duduk (a Middle Eastern wind instrument) and Anoushka’s sitar. “This one’s very languid,” says Anoushka. “It’s just nice and dreamy-it’s set in a morning raga that’s very moody and simple. It was lovely to have so many different things that shouldn’t go together but seemed to flow really nicely.”

“Red Sun,” the second track, features Anoushka on keyboards and is highlighted by the percussive Indian “bol” vocalizing of Bikram Ghosh and Tanmoy Bose, her longtime tabla players. “We’ve always incorporated that into my shows when they play with me, and I definitely wanted to feature that-they’re improvising on that,” says Anoushka.

Anoushka performing live with her father, Ravi Shankar

“Mahadeva” is based on a four-line song by Ravi Shankar that was re-composed and arranged by Anoushka. “He never developed it into a piece of music,” Anoushka explains. “It was just something that I sang as a kid and it came into my head while we were in Calcutta recording. It started developing into a really strong rhythmic, dark-feeling track, which I was really excited about. Mahadeva is another name for Shiva, and one aspect of Shiva is that he’s the destroyer. This sort of brings out that feeling of anger and insanity.

“Naked” turns the mood around completely-Anoushka, all alone, on sitar and keyboards. “It was a very conscious decision to add a little pretty track with sitar being the focus,” she says. “We’d gone very mysterious and heavy and it seemed nice to have something light.”

“Solea” was co-written by Anoushka and pianist Ricardo Miño. The luminous background sounds, Anoushka explains, were all created on the piano. “I’m holding the piano strings muted while he’s playing one of the other background synth sounds. It was really creative and fun for me, and very physical, too, because of the rhythm, the flamenco approach.”

The album’s other sitar-less track, “‘Beloved,'” says Anoushka, “was my first experience writing lyrics from scratch and fitting it to a melody. It was flute-focused and I thought it would be nice to have it be about Krishna because he’s always associated with the flute. The lyrics are from the viewpoint of Radha, who’s his eternal lover. She’s searching for him everywhere and then she understands that the reason she hasn’t been able to find him is because she’s not looking within herself.”

The intriguingly titled “Sinister Grains,” like “Prayer In Passing,” is another instance where Anoushka juxtaposed seemingly incongruous ingredients, here using Indian shehnai and vocals, didjeridoo, South American vocal percussion, bass and electronic elements, including her sitar which was fed through a filter to create some of the track’s ambient effects. “It’s just a funky little mysterious track,” she says. “The song is in a Sufi-sort of mood where he’s talking about the pain of living, and the music is also very moody.”

Anoushka compares “Voice Of The Moon,” which matches the Western cello and violin to the Eastern sitar, tabla and santoor, to her father’s collaborations with the late violinist Yehudi Menuhin. “It’s very much composed within an Indian raga yet the fact that the cello is there gives it a smoothness,” she says. The Indian percussion is amended with an electronic HandSonic drum pad as well, “to give it a little more depth,” Anoushka explains.

Anoushka Shankar

Finally, “Ancient Love,” the longest track on Rise is “my favorite one by far,” says Anoushka. “This is the one closest to my heart. It was also the easiest track because it constantly flowed. Every time someone added to this track, it would get more beautiful. We ended up taking out a lot, too, to retain a bit of simplicity. It’s got a nice mix of the electronics and several flavors.”

The sequencing of the tracks on Rise, adds Anoushka, is hardly random. “Each one is in a certain raga, and it flows from morning to evening through the course of the album, which is a pretty unique feature. It’s not something that happens very often or that can be made to work, but if you do believe that ragas have moods and have significance it does enhance the overall flow.”

In 2007, Anoushka collaborated with world music innovator Karsh Kale, combining Indian classical music with electronica and other influences.

Anoushka Shankar – Home – Anoushka Shankar

After releasing several experimental, fusion and crossover albums, Anoushka released Home in 2015. It’s a pure Indian classical album that showcases the meditative and virtuosic qualities of the Indian raga. Home includes two ragas, one of which is a creation of Ravi Shankar’s.

Anoushka Shankar – Land Of Gold

Land of Gold (2016) is Anoushka Shankar’s whole-hearted response to the trauma and injustice experienced by refugees and victims of war. The music was inspired by recent news images of people fleeing civil war, oppression, poverty and agonizing hardship. “The seeds of Land of Gold originated in the context of the humanitarian plight of refugees,” Anoushka recalls. “It coincided with the time when I had recently given birth to my second child. I was deeply troubled by the intense contrast between my ability to provide for my baby, and others who desperately wanted to provide the same security for their children but were unable to do so.”

Hang virtuoso and co-writer of many of the album’s ten pieces Manu Delago joined Anoushka Shankar. Other guests included Sanjeev Shankar, a master of the spellbinding Indian reed instrument, the shehnai, who studied with Anoushka’s father Ravi Shankar.

Land of Gold also includes guest appearances by singer-songwriter Alev Lenz, jazz bassist Larry Grenadier, dancer Akram Khan, cellist Caroline Dale, rapper and refugee advocate M.I.A., and actress and political activist Vanessa Redgrave. All-girl children’s choir Girls for Equality makes its debut on the album’s closing song, “Reunion.”

Everyone is, in some way or another, searching for their own “Land of Gold”: a journey to a place of security, connectedness and tranquility, which they can call home,” said Anoushka. “This journey also represents the interior quest that we all take to find a sense of inner peace, truth and acceptance – a universal desire that unites humanity.”

“My instrument,” comments Anoushka, “is the terrain in which I explore the gamut of emotional expression – evoking shades of aggression, anger and tenderness, while incorporating elements of classical minimalism, jazz, electronica and Indian classical styles.”

In 2019, Anoushka Shankar released Reflections, a compilation featuring including Anoushka’s favorite tracks, with pieces from Land of Gold, Traces of You, Rise and other albums.

Discography:

Anoushka (Angel Records, 1998)
Anourag (Angel Records, 2000)
Live at Carnegie Hall (Angel Records, 2001)
Rise (Angel Records, 2005)
Breathing Under Water, with Karsh Kale (Manhattan Records, 2007)
Traveller (Deutsche Grammophon, 2011)
Traces of You (Deutsche Grammophon, 2013)
Home (Deutsche Grammophon, 2015)
Ravi & Anoushka Shankar Live In Bangalore, 2 CD + DVD (East Meets West, 2015)
Land of Gold (Deutsche Grammophon, 2016)
Reflections (Deutsche Grammophon, 2019)

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A Sound Journey Through Varanasi



Srdjan Beronja – The Sounds of Varanasi

Srdjan Beronja – The Sounds of Varanasi – a unique sound journey through the holy city (ARC Music, 2014)

The Sounds of Varanasi is a set of recording made in Varanasi, India in 2011 by Serbian musician and producer Srdjan Beronja. He lived in Varanasi (formerly Benares) where he studied classical Indian tabla and made live recordings with local virtuoso musicians on traditional Indian instruments as well as field recordings of rituals, mantras (praying recitations), weddings,  and other distinctive sounds of the holy city of Varanasi.

The Indian artists featured include Pt. Dhruv Nath Mishra on sitar; Ravi Tripathi on tabla; Pt. Sukhdev Prasad Mishra on Indian violin; Vikas Tripathi on tabla; Pt. Atul Shankar on bansuri; Prakash Bimlesh on vocals and harmonium; and Pt. Kailash Nath Mishra on tabla.

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Scintillating Concert by an Unsung Musician Vidushi Geetha Sundaresan

Geetha Sundaresan

Carnatic Music has a large number of heroes and heroines. But the list of its unsung stars is even larger. This list is crowded with great musicologists and teachers who are responsible for the success of many performing stars. Such people preserve the greatness of our rich heritage alive by their selfless service. They happily pass on their expertise to others, many of whom go on to become performers of repute. More importantly, many such students go on to emulate their teachers, training more students; thus exponentially increasing the spread and reach of Carnatic Music. Geetha Sundaresan is one such teacher of teachers in the field of Carnatic Music.

Geetha was felicitated by a grateful gathering of her students of all ages, parents of many of these students, and admirers, in a special concert organized to honor her on 22 September 2018. She was accompanied by Sudha Ramasubramanian on the violin, who had been flown in from Chennai for the occasion, and local percussionists Sri Rama Mohan and Sri Nandagopal on mridangam and kanjira respectively.

Geetha started her concert with Saveri Varnam (Sarasuda by Kothavasal Venkatarama Iyer) which immediately set the tone for the evening’s program. This was followed by the Purandara Dasa kriti Saranu janakana kanaka rupane In Bilahari after a neat alapana. I have heard this sung by MLV in Latangi, but the Bilahari version sounded equally satisfying, including the chittaswarams in anupallavi and charanam. Later, I found out that the kriti has also been sung in Saurashtram. Wonder what raga the great saint sang it in originally?

Next was a brilliant Suddha Dhanyasi alapana, followed by Dikshitar’s Subramanyena rakshitoham. Geetha’s kalpana swarams were exquisite, yet not excessive. Young Sudha’s responses were equally impressive. At this point, the teacher in Geetha surfaced. She announced the details of the kritis she had sung so far, and prepared the audience for the Tyagaraja composition in the rare raga Manoranjani (Atu karaadani). The raga is a janya of the 5th Melakarta Manavati, although in the Dikshitar School of classification, it is itself designated as the 5th Melakarta.

Geetha Sundaresan

By now, the audience, already very aware of the singer’s status in the city, were totally hooked. Here was someone who could make the transition from an oft heard composition to a rarely heard one with consummate ease. The stage had been set by Geetha for a scintillating evening of music.

An elaborate alapana in panthuvarali was followed by Sambo Mahadeva of Tyagaraja. Geetha enlightened the audience with details of this kriti: it is one of the Kovur Pancharatna compositions, which sheds light on Tyagaraja’s devotion to Lord Siva. Her interaction with the audience continued with the next piece, Kannan maligaikke marubadi vandeno in Atana where Kuchela, on his way back from visiting his friend Krishna, unaware of the Lord’s graciousness, finds his house replaced by a palatial building, and wonders if he has wandered back to Krishna’s palace again. She informed the audience about Papanasam Sivan composing this song for the movie “Bhakta Kuchela” in 1961. Geetha then launched into her main piece of the evening – Syama Sastri’s “Ni sari evaramma” in Bhairavi, giving it the detailed attention that such a heavy composition deserves. A brilliant thani avarthanam by Sri Rama Mohan and young Nandagopal followed. If the mridangam sounded sweet to the ears, the Kanjeera was no less. Many in the audience declared they had never expected a limited-scope instrument like the Kanjeera to sound so melodious. The local percussion duo once again did all Muscat music lovers proud with their synchronization and laya precision.

Geetha Sundaresan

Eschewing an RTP, Geetha rounded off her concert with Kuntalavarali (Bhogeendra Sayeenam, Swati Thirunal), a lilting Bageshwari piece (Madhura Madhura Meenakshi by Swami Dayanada Saraswathi – Geetha mentioned about the honour she had of singing this song in the presence of the great Swamiji) and a Behag (muruganin maru peyar azhagu by Swami Surajananda), and a Kilippandu composed by her grandfather A K Mahadeva Iyer in praise of Tyagaraja. It was befitting that she invited all her students in the audience to join her as a chorus.

Geetha’s concert was an enriching experience for students and connoisseurs alike. Though Muscat will be the loser in Geetha’s repatriation to India, it was clear to all present that we rasikas here could not allow our selfishness to interfere with her class – she truly belongs in Chennai, where she will be able to rub shoulders with other artistes of her caliber.

Author: Dr (Col) Koduvayur M Harikrishnan with inputs from Mr. Ravishankar Rajamani.

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Darbar Indian Classical Arts Festival 2018

Part of the Darbar Festival 2018 will take place in London during October 25-28. The event promotes Indian classical arts and showcases some of the best current improvised music. The festival is dedicated to Bhai Gurmit Singh Ji Virdee (1937-2005), an inspirational teacher of the tabla. Darbar Festival was first established in 2006 in his memory.

This autumn Darbar Festival will take place at London music venue Barbican for the first time, featuring remarkable world-class musicians:

Thu October 25, 2018

Milton Court, 6.30 p.m.
Rupak Kulkarni + Meeta Pandit

Friday, October 26, 2018

Milton Court, 6.30 p.m.
Soumik Datta + Malladi Brothers

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Milton Court, 10:00 a.m.
Ustad Wasifuddin Dagar

Milton Court, 2:00 p.m.
Sanju Sahai

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Milton Court, 6:30 p.m.
Lalgudi GJR Krishnan & Lalgudi Vijayalakshmi + Omar Dadarkar

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Barbican Hall, 5:30 p.m.
Ustad Shahid Parvez + Parveen Sultana

headline photo: Meeta Pandit

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Artist Profiles: Vasumathi Badrinathan

Vasumathi Badrinathan

Vasumathi Badrinathan comes from a family with an intense musical background. She is an accomplished vocalist of Carnatic music, the classical style of music from Southern India. She was initiated into this art at a very young age by her mother, the late Smt. Padma Seshadri, who was a talented singer. Subsequently, Vasumathi learned music from Smt. T. R. Balamani, the reputed music guru.

Vasumathi has imbibed in her style the fine tradition passed on by her mother – disciple of the late Yageneswara Bhagavathar and Smt. Balamani – disciple of the legendary late Musiri Subramanya Iyer and Sri. T. K. Govinda Rao. Vasumathi enjoys a rich traditional paathanthara by virtue of her training. Her distinct undiluted classical style reveals itself in her rendition of Kritis, raga contours and niraval passages. Endowed with a rich bass voice, Vasumathi uses it to explore the profound melodies of Carnatic music.

Vasumathi has been performing widely within and outside India for several years and has toured extensively in Europe and Asia Pacific countries. Apart from her concerts, her skill in presenting lecture-demonstrations and workshops has been well appreciated. Vasumathi is a recipient of the Junior Fellowship for music from the Ministry of Human Resources and Development, Government of India, awarded to outstanding young artistes. Vasumathi is the recipient of the title “Sur Mani” for her proficiency in music by the Sur Singar Samsad, Mumbai. Her music is often broadcast over the All India Radio, one of India’s strongest upholders of classical music.

Vasumathi has released four CDs: Tamil Padams and Nayika portray the love songs of Tamil Naidu and Andra Pradesh, rarely performed and at risk of disappearing. Tamil Marai Isai contains the most beautiful verses of musical poetry by the Alwars -saints-philosophers-poets- of Tamil Naidu during the 8th to 13th centuries. Swara Dhwani presents songs that are typical of Carnatic music.

Besides music, Vasumathi is also an able dancer of Bharata Natyam, a classical dance style of South India. She has been groomed in this art by one of India’s s most revered and celebrated masters in the field – Kalaimamani Guru T.K. Mahalingam Pillai, of Sri Rajarajeswari Bharata Natya Kala Mandir, Mumbai. Vasumathi represents in her style of dancing, the pristine beauty of the Tanjavur school of Bharata Natyam. Vasumathi has many performances and choreographic efforts to her credit. For her proficiency in dance, the Sur Singar Samsad, Mumbai awarded Vasumathi the title of “Singar Mani” given to young dancers.

As an artist, Vasumathi derives joy as a performer of both music and dance. Her intense involvement in both these streams gives her an added advantage and helps her present her art with more feeling, awareness and aesthetic appeal. Vasumathi’s grip over music nourishes her dance endeavors and her dancer’s intuition invests her singing with feeling and sensitivity.

She directs the Sivubadra Institute of Indian Art and culture that she founded to propagate the Indian arts.

Vasumathi lives and works in Mumbai in India.

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Artist Profiles: Veena Sahasrabuddhe

Veena Sahasrabuddhe
Veena Sahasrabuddhe was born on September 14, 1948 in Kanpur, India. She came from from a family of musicians. Her father, Pundit Shankar Shripad Bodas, was a disciple of Pundit Vishnu Digambar Palsukar. Young Veena started her musical education with Kathak dance. She was initiated into Khayal singing by her father and her brother, late Pundit Kashinath Shankar Bodas. Padmashri Balwantrai Bhatt, late Pundit Vasant Thakar and late Pundit Gajananbua Joshi also contributed to her education.

The style she created for herself retained the fundamental values of Gwalior Gharana while borrowing somewhat from Kirana and Jaipur gharanas. The vidwans lauded the authenticity of her music while most listeners were moved by its directness and intensity.

Apart from Khayal, she was sought after for her rich repertoire of bhajans.

She sang at all the prestigious venues and occasions including Tansen Samaroh in Gwalior and Sawai Gandharva in Pune. At the Vokalfestival in Stockholm and at the Voices of the World festival in Copenhagen she represented Indian Classical Voice. She recorded under many leading labels. She was awarded the Uttar Pradesh Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for the year 1993.

Besides being a popular performer, she was also a composer and a teacher. Her compositions adorned many of her recordings. She taught voice at institutions as well as privately.

In 2005 Abaton Book Company released One Thousand Minds (ABC#Ol2). It is a special edition numbered release with a 20-page booklet and folded bilingual lyric sheet, enclosed in 5″ audio-reel box. This special edition was limited to 1000 numbered copies and included a 20-page photo journal of Veena Sahasrabuddhe’s musical history and a lyric sheet in Devanagari with English translations and phonetic spellings.

Veena Sahasrabuddhe died on June 29, 2016 in Pune, India.

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Artist Profiles: Vijayalakshmy Subramaniam

Vijayalakshmy Subramaniam

Vijayalakshmy Subramaniam Born in a family with a rich musical heritage, Vijayalakshmy Subramaniam started her training in Carnatic Music at the age of five. Her keen sense in grasping musical nuances was evident from a young age. A captivating, melodious and rich voice, good control on rhythm, diction and bhava have earned her noteworthy attention in the music field.

Appearing in her first concert at the age of twelve, Vijayalakshmy has an impressive record of performance with several concerts in India and abroad. Vijayalakshmy was invited by the KI Tropentheater, Amsterdam, for a series of programs in Belgium and Holland in Jan 2005. Vijayalakshmy was invited to present a paper on Music Communication, Raga and Tala, a bridge across- at the Sims 2004, Melbourne, Australia in July 2004. She also conducted a workshop for the students of the Victoria Academy, Wellington, New Zealand in July 2004. Vijayalakshmy presented a concert and a workshop on Carnatic music at the World Vocal Music Festival, Tampere, Finland, 2003.

She has performed widely in Delhi, Nagpur, Chennai, other cities of Tamilnadu, Andhra, Kaanataka and Kerala. In Chennai, she has given concerts for all the well-known Music institutions. She has participated in lecdems organized by music institutions in Chennai as also by the Tyagaraja Aradhana Festival Committee in Tirupati. She has participated in the Swati Tirunal Sangeetotsavam organized by the Kerala Sangeet Natak Academy in 2002. In addition she has given concerts in Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and Switzerland. She participated in the Asia Pacific Music Festival in New Zealand in 1992. She has conducted workshops in Carnatic Music in New Zealand, Germany and Switzerland.

With her extensive repertoire, Vijayalakshmy has presented exclusive concerts of composers like Thyagaraja, Muthuswami Dikshitar, Syama Sastri, Swati Tirunal, Purandara Dasa, Annamacharya, Bhadrachala Ramadas, Koteeswara Iyer, Oothukadu Venkata Subbier, Arunagirinathar Tiruppugazh and Jayadeva Ashtapadis.

Vijayalakshmy is an ‘A’ grade artiste with the All India Radio. She has performed in the prestigious Akashvani Sangeet Sammelan Concerts and sings regularly over the Chennai Station of All India Radio.

After an illustrious career with All India Radio Chennai as a Programing Executive, Vijayalakshmy worked as Program Director (South) till March 2002, with the FM division of Sa Re Ga Ma India Limited, at Chennai.

Discography:

Apoorva Kriti Manjari
Kritis of Annamayya (Charsur Digital Workstation)
Raga Series – Todi (Charsur Digital Workstation)
Kshetra Sringeri (Charsur Digital Workstation)
Muruga Muruga (Rajalakshmi Audio)
Madrasil Margazhi (Rajalakshmi Audio)
Sarvanandham (Rajalakshmi Audio)
Shaktam-Shakti (Disques dom, 2004)
Nada Sukham (Saregama, 2009)

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Artist Profiles: Vikku Vinayakram

Vikku Vinayakram

Vikku Vinayakram, one of India’s finest ghatam (a large clay pot percussion instrument) players, studied with his father, Harihara Sharma. He is in great demand in India and has accompanied nearly all the leading South Indian musicians and vocalists like Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer, MS Subbulakshmi, Balamurali Krishna, Bhimsen Joshi, Hariprasad Chaurasia and VG Jog.

Vinayakram became known in the West as a member of the group Shakti, an innovative acoustic jazz/Indian fusion band with guitarist John McLaughlin, violinist L. Shankar, and Zakir Hussain on tabla. He has also played under the direction of Zubin Mehta and shared the stage with internationally acclaimed musicians like Herbie Hancock, Peter Gabriel and Larry Corryell.

In 1991 he participated in the recording of Planet Drum as a music composer and co-producer together with The Grateful Dead’s drummer, Mickey Hart. The album featured other world class percussionists like Zakir Hussain and Airto Moreira. Planet Drum won the Grammy for Best World Music Album in 1991.

The extraordinary speed and precision of his duets with tabla virtuoso Zakir Hussain and mrdangam player Ramnad V. Raghavan have captivated listeners throughout the world. Vikku devotes much of his time to teaching at his own ghatam school in Madras. In addition to touring with Shankar and Zakir Hussain and accompanying other musicians, he has performed with J.G. Laya in an experimental group that includes pianists and other percussionists.

Recently Vinayakram was featured in a percussion show called Drums of India, along with Zakir Hussain, sarangi maestro Ustad Sultan Khan, drummers Sivamani and Taufiq Qureshi and enchanted the audience with his dazzling performance.

Vinayakram has won numerous prestigious awards in India. He has many recordings to his credit and is also the author of several books on percussion in Tamil and English. Vinayakram forged and led the group “The Mahaperiyava,” an ensemble of young, talented artists from Chennai.

Discography:

A Handful of Beauty, with Shakti (1976)
Natural Elements (1977)
Planet Drum (1991)
Mysterium Tremendum (2012)

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