SYAMA celebrated its 10th anniversary

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SYAMA organized a two-day music festival ‘Dhwani’ to commemorate its 10th Anniversary. The two-day event took place at the Substation, Armenian Street, Singapore on the 15th and 16th of March and comprised four concerts, mainly focusing on instrumental music.

The festival commenced with a video presentation highlighting the contributions of SYAMA to the Indian society in Singapore and the Singapore arts scene. This was followed by a Carnatic and Hindustani jugalbandhi with Bharathi Murali, a resident of Singapore on the violin and Shweta Baskaran, an artiste from Malaysia on the sitar. Bharati commenced with ragam Sahana on the violin followed by an intricate piece on the sitar by Shweta in raag Yaman. The artistes then delighted the audience with a jugalbandhi piece in ragam Charukesi. Mahesh Parameshwaran on the mridangam and Vaishnav Murali on the tabla provided excellent support. The concert ended with a beautiful piece composed by Bharathi’s guru Shri K Sivaraman in ragam Revathi and Behag, with intricate calculations that demonstrated the prowess of the artistes.

The second concert of the day was a Hindustani ensemble. Dhwani brought together Suman Bhattacharya, a well-known sitar player residing in Singapore and Arnab Bhattacharya, a leading sarod player from India. They were accompanied by Ashis Mukherjee from India, a popular Tabla player. Suman and Arnab stole the show with a an exquisite rendering of raag Behag, with an elaborate Aalaap demonstrating the beauty of the raga.

‘Dhwani’ festival celebrations continued into day 2 on 16th March. The first concert was an Indian Fusion performance by Ramkumar Vasudevan, the President of SYAMA, on the Veena and Bombay V. Anand on the violin. They were accompanied by Venkataraman on the Mridangam and Kanjira and Mahesh Parameshwaran on the Handsonic and Ghatam. The concert commenced with a varnam in ragam Mohanam followed by the popular songs in ragam Ratipathipriya and Kathanakuthugalam which was very well received by the audience. The highlight of the recital was the elaborate ragam thaanam pallavi in the ragam ‘Amruthavarshini’, an apt choice to invoke Varuna Bhagavan, the rain god to dispel the dry spell in Singapore. There was a downpour even before the concert started as if Mother Nature had read their minds. The special effects on the percussion by Mahesh and Venkataraman elevated the moods of the audience. The concert ended with two crisp western scale compositions, the first one composed by Veenai Chittibabu which was ably supported by Mahesh on the Ghatam.

The second piece was a composition by Ramkumar’s Guru Shri Parthasarathy. The grand finale was a Carnatic Ensemble, a traditional Veena, Venu (Flute) and Violin concert. Srividya Sriram on the violin, Kavitha Jayaraman on the veena and Prabu Ramachandran on the flute, with able support by T Ramanan on the Mridangam and Suresh on the Morsing and Kanjira. The theme for the evening was Krishna and the trio commenced the evening with a colorful Varnam in Charukesi ragam. The concert included ‘Thunaipurintharul’ in ragam Varamu and the main piece was the famous song ‘Swagatham Krishna’ by Oothukadu Venkata Kavi in ragam Mohanam. Engligh notes composed by Madurai Mani and a crisp Thillana in Madhuvanthi concluded the program.

SYAMA’s president Ramkumar says ‘Any art form has to be evolving, and needs to be packaged in a form that is relevant to the present. However that does not mean that the classical content need to be diluted. We have to be always on the lookout for relevant and innovative ideas to present classical music. SYAMA is committed to this mantra, and has been presenting full-house shows using thematic presentations and adaptation of western concepts such as musicals and multimedia into traditional concerts. I’m also happy to see a lot of the younger generation coming forward to perform in this festival; as well as to attend the other performances. I must say that the growth of Indian classical music in the Singapore arts scene is very healthy. Thanks to organisations like the National arts council and ARTS FUND for supporting such events’. The festival was a concerted effort by SYAMA and the whole event was efficiently managed by Praapthi Events. For more information on performances and courses conducted by SYAMA, please visit their website,www.syama.org

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