The universe within

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Paris, je t'aime

It has been such a long while since I scribbled anything here. I have been busy with concerts and other activities and there is so much to catch up on.
The main thing I would like to share here is my trip to France. I was invited by my good friend (and student of my guru Sri TM Krishna) Andre Martin who teaches a group of students at his native Vertou (a small town near Nantes).
He has a few students who learn not only 'straight jacketed' Carnatic music lessons but also use music as a means to connect with themselves and open up their personalities. The concept is interesting and Andre has met with quite a few successes!!
My trip was very successful for both myself and for the group of students out there. For them, they got to connect with someone external who is into music (yours truly!) and for me, it helped me get an outsider's perspective on our music.
I mainly focussed on voice production, constant shruthi alignment (westerners are not used to singing to a fixed tonic), gamakas and the concept of manodharma sangeetha.
I also performed a chamber concert for a totally European audience. It was a fascinating experience - I elaborated Begada and Varali and also sang a ragamalika shloka. The response was astounding and there were many who said they felt a lot of pathos in Varali.
I also elaborated the shloka "Ayi Murali Mukunda..." (from the Krishna Karnaamritham) and when I explained the meaning to them, they felt moved by the poet's imagery.
Overall, the whole experience left me feeling both humble and proud!! Humble - to realise that Carnatic Music is such an ocean that it can be interpret from so many different perspectives. Proud - to realise that I am part of such a refined and fulfilling art form!!
A few photos: