Carnatic to the Core

While one is an accomplished Carnatic vocalist the other is an acclaimed performer on the Saraswathi Veena.

Written by Ankur Borwankar | Published:September 20, 2012 4:13 am

While one is an accomplished Carnatic vocalist the other is an acclaimed performer on the Saraswathi Veena. As a part of an initiative by SPICMACAY,Carnatic vocalist R Vedavalli and Saraswathi Veena performer Jayanthi Kumaresh will be performing in the city. The duo will be performing individually on September 21 at IISER,Pashan and on September 22 at IUCAA,Pune University. On one hand Kumaresh,who has been performing for the last 25 years,has been honoured with the title Kalaimamani by the Government of Tamil Nadu. On the other,Vedavalli is the director of the advanced school of Classical Carnatic music at The Music Academy,Madras and is working on popularising the Mallari music form down south.

Speaking about the same she says,“Mallari,an ancient temple music form wherein different passages are played for each holy ritual,is now played only in one temple at Chidambaram. The last of the Vidwans,Radhakrishnan Pillai,is in his eighties,and the music form would have ended with him. Efforts to revive and continue this as well as other music forms have yielded success and now there are many more disciples of Mallari.” Vedavalli,a devout traditionalist,adheres strictly to the sampradaya of classical Carnatic music. She started when she was gifted her first harmonium at age five by Sangita Kalanidhi Madurai Srirangam Iyengar,and also began vocal lessons under him. Her later training was under Sangita Kalanidhi Mudicondan Venkatarama Iyer and in 2000,she received the Sangita Kalanidhi herself,considered the highest honour in Carnatic music.

Kumaresh has toured both India and other countries,and has been a part of numerous music festivals,seminars,lecture demonstrations and workshops while on tour. She recently performed at a music festival in Woodstock,New York and was the first ever Veena player to represent Carnatic music at the festival. She also conducted a workshop at the Trinity College of Music and the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan in London this year. In fact she started playing the Veena at the young age of three,and was one of the youngest artistes in India to receive the A-TOP award from the All India Radio (AIR),the highest grading offered by the only grading body in India-AIR. She was awarded a Doctorate by the University of Mysore for her work on the subject ‘Analytical Study of Different Banis and Playing Techniques of the Saraswathi Veena’.

About her professional commitments Vedavalli says,“ I was a professor of Vocal Music at Government College of Music,Adyar,Tamil Nadu,after serving at the Madras Music Academy for several years,” She is now the Director of the advanced school of Classical Carnatic music at The Music Academy,Madras.

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