The two premier and prominent institutions disseminating Indian art and culture in Singapore released audio CDs. Both for the first time in over 60 years of their existence, both by their tutors, recordings of both done in India and both released in Singapore in the same week at their respective institutions.
‘Vadhya Sangeetha Dhara’ is the violin audio CD album by Mr Nellai.N.Ravindran violin tutor (Guru) at Singapore Indian Fine Arts Society (SIFAS) and ‘Poonkuyil’ is the audio CD of songs sung by Ms Ampili Pradeep vocal tutor at Nrityala Aesthetics Society.
About Vadhya Sangeetha Dhara (flow of instrumental music)
This CD album has along with the Guru four of his students Sowndarya Kalyan, Priyadarshini Ramesh, Sharanya and Sharadh Rajaraman, ‘Vadhya Visharad’ title recipients. This album includes three CDs of which two CDs are renditions of kritis (compositions) of renowned composers and one CD is the teaching of a kriti, “Bhajare Chiththa” of Sri Muthuswamy Dikshithar by the Guru to his students.
Nellai N.Ravindran a prolific teacher for the last 18 years has had advanced training in violin under Sri S A Subramania Pillai for 7 years at Tirunelveli. He also holds a Bachelor’s degree from Madurai Kamaraj University and an Honours Diploma in Systems Management from NIIT.
To my queries, Nellai Ravindran:
What got you interested in making a CD?
As I have some very talented students, I thought that it is my responsibility to bring out and show their calibre by releasing a CD album, which will also be immensely beneficial to Singapore Indian Fine Arts Society (SIFAS) to project the image of its students. It was a coordinated effort by me, students and their parents, which made this album possible.
What is the value of doing this CD?
This will be handy and helpful for the students for self-introduction in the future and also can help SIFAS to showcase its talent and refer to this in the future. All the four students who took part are very young, the maximum being 20 years. Also, students get motivated to perform more and to gain professional experience. As this is a first of its kind in the history of SIFAS, I think, this will go a long way in projecting its image to the outer world.
What about the funding for doing the CD?
When I proposed to do this album to the parents of my students, I clearly stated that the production expenses have to be taken care of by them. They agreed immediately and wholeheartedly. This too was a good reason for the good end-product. Now SIFAS is promoting the sales of this CD.
And to Sharadh, what did you gain by this experience?
Sharadh Rajaraman, 16 years, student of Raffles Junior College and SIFAS who has played in the album explained: “We spent four days at the studio to record the necessary music. We had practised several songs for the CDs since a few months before the recording. Upon recording, there were a few hiccups but we managed to solve most of them as we repeated some parts of songs a few times to get them entirely right. We also understood the differences between stage performances and studio recordings. On stage, there is only one chance to get it right, while in recordings, songs can be re-played many times to achieve perfection. Even if the recordings are not 100% perfect, modern music editing tools eliminate much of the problems and errors made. It was a very enriching experience throughout, as we learnt the intricacies of studio recording and the processes that were involved. We hope to have many more experiences like this.”
Vadhya Sangeetha Dhara was released by Prof Chan Heng Chee, Chairperson, National Arts Council, on 28th March 2014 at the inaugural function of SIFAS Dance and Music Festival 2014.
The CD is available for purchase at the office of Singapore Indian Fine Arts Society at 2A Starlight Terrace.
And about Poonkuyil (Cuckoo or Koel bird).
|Ampili Pradeep , Poonkuyil|
This CD is a collection of songs, of renowned composers, in praise of the various Hindu Gods, melodiously sung by Ms Ampili Pradeep. The music is set by the popular flautist, performer and composer Sri B.V.Balasai from India. It begins with the mellifluous rendering of an invocation, Sree Ganesha Sharanam, composition of Papanasam Sivan, and ends with the Thillana of Shri Lalgudi Jayaraman in ragam ‘Madhuvanthi’.
“Though I had always nurtured a desire to do a recording with Balasai Sir, I never imagined in my wildest dreams that my wish would come true. Meeting Balasai Sir was sheer good fortune and grace of the almighty. He has been a real source of strength and inspiration to me without his support Poonkuyil would have never happened.” Ampili.
And Sri Balasai at the release expressed his happiness mentioning, “‘Ampili the Poonkuyil’ worked with great devotion and sincerity to make the CD.”
Ms Ampili Pradeep who holds an MA and M.Phil in Music from Madurai Kamaraj University feels the making of the CD will be useful for students of music and dance and will inspire musically inclined people of Singapore to boldly venture into such enterprises.
To my queries, Ampili:
And what got you interested in making a CD?
Making an album of my own has always been a dream for me since the time I was pursuing my masters in music. It had always been at the back of my mind but I never found the time and drive to pursue my dream until recently. Late Uncle Bhaskar, my mentor in Singapore and the founder of Bhaskar's Arts Academy has also been a major inspiration behind this. He always motivated me to release an album of my own. The vast experience in singing for dance programmes, thanks to aunty Santha Bhaskar, with a lot of feel and emotion developed in me a passion to do an album of light classical songs where emotions played a major part in rendering the songs. I have always felt connected to the divine through music.
Any difficulty you faced?
Life has always presented many challenges at every turn. The travel, the hectic recording schedules and time constraints made it stressful. Since I live in Singapore and the recording was in Chennai, I had very less time to learn and deliver the songs, actually just 3 days! But the bright part was the extraordinary love and support which I received from Mrs and Mr Bala Sai. They treated me like their family. We went to Mookambika Temple to get the CD blessed at the sanctum and I was fortunate to sing in front of the shrine. In Chennai too, we visited temples to seek blessings of Lord Muruga whom I strongly believe in, before we embarked on the project. The journey so far has been unbelievable and the fact that Poonkuyil has gathered so much adulation and touched so many hearts is truly touching.”
Poonkuyil CD was released by Mrs Santha Bhaskar artistic director of Bhaskar’s Arts Academy at the release function held on 30th March at NAS, Black Box. The CD is available for purchase from the office of Nrityala Aesthetics Society at 155 Waterloo Street.