By Pallavi Nagesha
In the Bhagavad Gita, the lord says
vedānāḿ sāma-vedo smi/ of the Vedas, I am sāma veda
The highest form of Veda is that which deals with music. If you can hear the frequencies of nature, you will hear the sounds of heaven. The reverberations that ripple through you as you listen to music are infinite and yet contained. They stay with you and undulate and flow through you creating an enduring experience. This state of citānanada/bliss is what humanity strives for. The closest we can come to experiencing reverberations or dhvani is through a transcendental performance.
LearnQuest gives you the opportunity to immerse in three days of reverberations. So come and explore these ripples and perhaps you can see why Lord Krishna is sāma veda. This year, along with several amazing artists, we have an all-star Carnatic vocal lineup.
Our program on Friday, March 29th begins with a concert by Saketharaman, an artist who demonstrates the future of Carnatic music. While steeped in tradition, his music is surprisingly forward-looking. A star performer with several accolades, Saketharaman is also a composer with over a 100 Pallavis under his belt. Trained by violin maestro Lalgudi Jayaraman, Saketharaman is a confident vocalist and is extremely articulate about the art and science of music. He is accompanied by Patri Satish Kumar on the Mridangam. The first choice of all leading performers, Patri is a seasoned accompanist with a proper understanding of the sahitya bhava, the lyrical nuances of music. Saketharaman is also accompanied by L. RamaKrishnana on the Violin, a sought-after violinist in Chennai and a recipient of numerous awards, including Naada Bhooshanam from Nadopasana.
On Saturday the 30th, the day begins with a performance by Sunil Gargyan, a rising star in the galaxy of young and flourishing musicians. Sunil is under the tutelage of Padmabhushan Sangeetha Kala Acharya P S Narayanaswamy. With plenty of ornamentation, this versatile musician appears poised for glory. He is accompanied by Trivandrum Balaji, an accomplished Mridangam vidhwan and konnakol exponent, who has been recently appointed as the āsthāna vidhvān of the Kanchi Kaamakoti Peetham. Also accompanying Sunil is Krishna Sriram on Ghatam.
The highlight of Saturday is the much-anticipated performance of Padmabhushan Sudha Raghunathan. An unforgettable voice which resonates within forever. Her absolute mastery over vocal technique and her range allow her to play with compositions in innovative and entertaining ways. A humble soul with innumerable accolades to her name, her success in music is equaled by her service to humanity. Whether it is raising funds for cyclone victims or teaching music at prisons Sudha’s unselfish charity is inspiring. “If I speak anything about Sudha, it will be like speaking about myself,” said Padmavibhushan Dr. Balamuralikrishna. Sudha is accompanied by Akshay Anant Padmanabhan on the Mridangam. Akshay is a young talented khanjira and konnakol artist. Also accompanying Sudha is Kamalakiran Vinjamuri on the Violin, another young artist and a recipient of multiple awards at the Cleaveland Thyagaraja Aradhana. Yet another young artist, Sowmiya Narayanan joins them on the Ghatam.
On Sunday the 31st, the final Carnatic vocalist, Palghat Ramaprasad take the stage. Grandson of the legendary Mridangam player Palghat Mani Iyer, Ramaprasad is known for his Niraval ornamentation, while adhering to traditional diktats. His music is graceful, compelling, expertly envisioned and emotionally loaded. Ramaprasad is accompanied by Tirchur Narendran on the Violin. A sensitive accompanist and extremely sought after, Narendran is simply a part of the Chennai season. Also accompanying him is the virtuoso Lalgudi Vijayalakshmi on the Violin. Her signature lyrical style perfectly complements vocalists.
Astar-studdedd Carnatic line up waits for you at the 14th Annual LearnQuest Music Conference, March 29th – 31st at Regis College, Weston MA. For more information visit our website at www.learnquest.org.