Violin Vaibhavam, a joint initiative of the Lalgudi Trust and the Krutagnya Trust, was conceived by the Lalgudi siblings G.J.R. Krishnan and Vijayalakshmi with the twin aims of promoting diverse traditions and styles of violin-playing as also providing a platform for serious students and up-and-coming musicians alike across the country.
The first edition of this festival, which was held at Sastry Hall, Chennai in January 2015, introduced several gifted violinists from various banis to the discerning Chennai audience. Among the young talents spotted were disciples of veteran violinists A. Kanyakumari, Lalgudi Vijayalakshmi, Anuradha Sridhar, T.K.V. Ramanujacharyulu, Lalgudi G.J.R. Krishnan, Parur M.S. Anantharaman and the Mysore brothers Nagaraj and Manjunath.
The second edition of Violin Vaibhavam was held on 3 January 2016 at Dr. H.N. Multimedia Hall, National College, Basavanagudi, Bengaluru. Presided over by seasoned artists such as T.S. Krishnamurthy, H.K. Venkatram, Anooru Anantakrishna Sharma and Anooru Dattatreya Sharma besides Lalgudi G.J.R. Krishnan and Lalgudi Vijayalakshmi, the festival featured the following violinists: Harini and Neha (disciples of Vittal Ramamurthy), Akshay Kaushik and Madhwesh (disciples of H.K. Venkatram), Achuthan Padmanabhan (disciple of A. G.A. Gnanasundaram), Aneesh (disciple of S.R. Vidyashankar), Jeyshri Balaji (disciple of Lalgudi Vijayalakshmi), Vaibhav Ramani (disciple of Kumaresh), Tharun Ravikumar, Anirudh Chandramouli (disciple of T.S. Krishnamurthy) and Nerujan Sehasothy (disciple of Lalgudi G.J.R. Krishnan).
The young musicians were ably accompanied by senior students of well-known mridangam, ghatam and khanjira vidwans. The event not only provided the participants an opportunity to fine-tune their art and gain an insight into aspects of performance such as time management and planning a concert schedule, but also helped them establish a warm rapport with fellow violinists and accompanists across regions, languages and banis. Violin Vaibhavam served as a rousing inspiration to promising young Carnatic violinists to further raise the bar and ply their art with greater rigour and fervour.
Deepak Maharaj at the Sam Ved festival
Deepak Maharaj has a head start as the son of Pandit Birju Maharaj – scion of the Kalka Bindadin's Lucknow gharana. At 46, he is young yet mature, and is blessed with a pleasant stage presence and a melodious voice. He knows the tricks of the trade and is a professional performer.
Dancing in the 26th annual dance and music festival organised by Sam Ved Society (5-6 March), Mumbai, in memory of Kathak maestro Pandit Durgalal, Deepak Maharaj was in an exulted mood. With youthful exuberance, he regaled the audience with select gems from the Lucknow gharana repertoire. Starting with a prayer in Brijbhasha, a composition of his father Birju Maharaj, he evoked images of Krishna, and soon unleashed a series of energetic nritta pieces after reciting the bols – which showcased his exceptional command over laya and tala. Thankfully, he did not restrict it to a sheer display of technique, but laced it with grace and occasional humour. He recited the bols before executing the nritta pieces, and had the advantage of having his elder brother Jaikishan Maharaj accompanying him on the pakhawaj, and maestro Akram Khan on the tabla. While his brilliant execution had the audience eating out of his hands, he also proved that he was a true artistic legatee of his father who has emerged out of his shadow.
Several young Kathak dancers are found lacking in abhinaya – emoting to a poem, a song, a thumri. Prefacing the abhinaya thumri of Bindadin Maharaj, Deepak admitted that he is no match to the nuances of the thumri. He sang it in his melodious voice impersonating both Krishna and the gopis. However, he did not dwell upon the sanchari bhavas, but only embellished them with typical thumka. It was evident that Deepak Maharaj has been concentrating on presenting nritta with amazing energy and speed. If he could exercise restraint and invest the form with the lyrical grace of Rajput and Mughal miniature paintings (which Birju Maharaj has mastered in his performances), Deepak could earn brownie points. Gat bhava and gat nikas are salient features of the Lucknow gharana which enhance the nazakat or delicacy and khubsoorati or beauty of the dance form. Deepak Maharaj would do well to strike that balance.
The finale – a jugalbani between Akram Khan's tabla and Deepak Maharaj's footwork. had the audience asking for more. On his part, Jaikishan Maharaj on the pakhawaj unleashed a pattern ofparan like shooting an arrow. What a delight it was to relish Kathak in such a soiree!
Kathak exponent and Sangeet Natak Akademi awardee Uma Dogra has been organising this festival in memory of her guru since 1991. This was the first time that theatre found a place in the music and dance festival – a musical theatre presentation by Shekhar Sen in his inimitable role of Soordas. Ronu Majumdar’s hauntingly melodious flute recital with Benaras gharana tabla wizard Kashinath Mishra was another bonus.
SKGS Sankeerthana Choodamani award
The Sri Krishna Gana Sabha Sankeerthana Choodamani award was presented to Kanthimathy Santhanam in the presence of the pontiffs of the Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham, during the 15th Namasankeerthana Vizha organised by Sri Krishna Gana Sabha in association with Integrated Academy For Performing Arts and Bhagavatha Seva Trust, on 31 January in Chennai. Nalli Kuppuswami Chetti, R. Venkateswaran, Y. Prabhu and N. Kamakodi participated in the proceedings.
Indo-French Reflection Group
The Indo-French Reflection Group organised on the 31st January 2016 in Buc (France) a Conference-cum-Demonstration on the theme of “Notion of Time in Indian Classical Music” in the presence of the Chargé d’Affaires, Embassy of India, Mr. Manish Prabhat.
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