By Pallavi Nagesha
BOSTON–LearnQuest celebrates over 25 years of advancing musical education and appreciation with its 15th annual Music Conference April 7th through 9th. The weekend concert series showcases over 50 artists performing both carnatic and hindustani vocal and instrumental music. This year promises to be particularly special with the number of instrumental or vādya performances.
The concert series features over 12 instruments Which include both saṅgīta and laya vādya, or instruments that produce melody and rhythm.Without instruments, music is incomplete. Rhythm is a natural part of any living organism and, when it enters Melody a composition is born. “it gets locked into time and becomes a temporal thing with definite stages in its Passage” (Alaap). This unique amalgamation saṅgīta and laya vādyas can be seen at the conference this year.
We are especially excited to feature suṣira saṅgīta vādya or wind instruments that include flute, shehnai and nādaswaraṃ. Both shehnai and nādaswaraṃ are deśi or folk instruments adapted into the mārgi or classical tradition. They are said to attract good fortune and are often played at events that bring good tidings and help with grief and loss. The word “shehnai” comes from Persian and can be translated to “flute of the emperors”. There are depictions of an instrument called Nay on tombs of Persian emperors. Played mostly in the North Indian folk and Hindustani classical styles, it is also known as the maṅgaḷa vādya or the enabling tool. So is the nādaswaraṃ, which is played in the South Indian folk and Carnatic classical styles.
The nādaswaraṃ is usually played in pairs, and accompanied by a pair of drums called thavil. It is said to be the loudest non-percussive instrument. In Hinduism, you play loud music to ward off evil. Thus, this instrument is played at every auspicious occasion. Listening to these instruments will surely fill your senses and your souls with divine and harmonious ripples. don’t miss the opportunity to listen to great music and interact with other rasikas of New England.
The concert will be held at Casey Theater, Regis College in Weston, MA.
To learn more about our artists, go to https://conference.learnquest.org. Get your tickets at