Monday, May 27, 2024

Ramanavami ushers in a month of melodies for Bengaluru

No Sri Ramanavami is complete without melody in Karnataka. Nearly four-dozen mandalis and samithis come together with a pooja and discourse followed by melody. The tradition was followed even during the pandemic years, in a virtual avatar. “Nothing can defeat the human spirit,” says SN Varadaraj, General Secretary of the Sree Ramaseva Mandali in Chamarajpet ahead of the upcoming 32-day Ramanavami event.

“We will have a discourse on Valmiki Ramayana from April 11 to 15 by Satyatma Tirtha of Uttaradi Mutt. A book, Sangraha Ramayana, based on his discourse at the Mandali will be launched this year.”

The Mandali’s music schedule offers 64 (junior and senior) concerts presented by nearly 260 artistes. The Mandali kicked off with Nadaswara on March 30 by Mysore Vijay Surya followed by a Ranjani-Gayatri vocal performance, has the husband-wife duo Jayanthi Kumaresh (on veena) with Kumaresh R (on violin) on April 2, and will conclude with Sudha Ragunathan on April 29.

Varadaraj and his son, Abhijith, have been meticulous in their choice of artistes to commemorate their 85 th year. “This year, we have chosen younger performers as we need to popularise the festival among young people,” says Abhijith, who also helms the events’ online requirements.

“Harish Sivaramakrishnan of the rock band, Agam will present a full-fledged classical session with Ambika Prasad on the violin, Rajesh Nath on the mridangam and BR Ravikumar on the ghatam,” says Abhijith adding that vocalists Bhargavi Venkatram, Palakkad Ramprasad, Spoorthy Rao and Varijasri, as well as Ramana Balachandran on the veena will bring in similar innovative dispositions. “Not to forget the Siraha trio of U Rajesh (mandolin), Sivamani (drums) and Harmeet (keyboard) for a Carnatic fusion.”

Flautist Praveen Godkindi

Flautist Praveen Godkindi
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The Mandali will honour vocalist Venkatesh Kumar with a ‘Rama Gana Kalacharya’ award before his concert on April 21, while senior flautist Praveen Godkhindi will be honoured with the Mandali’s SVN Rao Global Award before his fusion concert with violinist Ambi Subramaniam on March 31. “The Mandali giving both its awards to Hindustani achievers is unusual,” says Varadaraj.

As part of their 85th-year celebrations, the Mandali will launch two new projects — Kala Saketa, a skill development centre for performing arts in collaboration with the Karnataka Skill Development Corporation (under the CM’s Kaushalya Karnataka Yojane) where 50 underprivileged persons will be trained in sound engineering. The second is Go-Saketa, where the neglected Amrut Mahal breed of cows (a warrior cattle breed that the Mysore Royals had nurtured) will be preserved.

“My father, SV Narayanaswamy Rao, who founded the Mandali in 1939, made sure Sri Ramanavami serves a larger social cause. We expect over 10,000 people to partake of the prasada and music,” says Varadaraj.     

(Tickets @ Fort High School Grounds / or call 9448079079 / 9483518012)


Free music in open-air for 75 years 

Excitement grips the office bearers and committee members of the Sree Seshadripuram Ramaseva Samithi as it steps into its Platinum Jubilee Year of Ramanavami Music Fest, which is on from March 30 to April 27.

“There is a sense of nostalgia as we reminisce over fests held at the Ramadevara Devasthana and later at Seshadripuram College. The who’s who of classical music performed at the Samithi,” says Dr Sarita S Rao of the Ramaseva Samithi.

Committee Secretary Ramakrishnan and other senior members recall how the founding members knocked on doors in Malleswaram and Seshadripuram to collect funds for the Ramaseva Samithi. “From the inception of the Samithi in 1948, commitment towards melody was their focus. To have a Ramanavami banner in the heart of Bengaluru was their dream,” says Ramakrishnan.  

“We will be presenting 29 concerts at the Seshadripuram College premises,” says Revathi Tarakaram. “To commemorate this milestone year, we showcased the talents of nearly 30 budding artistes in the last six months. There was also a workshop for children conducted by vocalist S Shankar”

“It is our duty to build talent by offering them a platform,” she says.

Malladi Brothers

Malladi Brothers
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The USP of the Samithi has been its free concerts even as the yesteryear maestros and leading musicians of the day accept a nominal fee from the prestigious banner that thrives on donations from music lovers. “ We have always had open-air concerts, courtesy Seshadripuram Educational Trust. MLV and the entire team once performed for ₹750, while Mangalampalli Balamuralikrishna only accepted the  prasada on many occasions . Even today, many star performers take a pittance from us,” says Revathy.

This year’s artistes

The Samithi’s set list this year comprises upcoming and leading musicians. Prominent names such as Vidyabhushana Pt. Dhananjay Hegde, Sudha Ragunathan, Sikkil Gurucharan, S. Shankar, Trichur Brothers, Malladi Brothers, Sandeep Narayan, S Sowmya, Bharath Sundar, and Sriranjani Santhanagopalan, will share the stage with youngsters such as Nisha Rajagopalan, Vignesh Eshwar, Anahita and Apoorva. There will also be a special veena concert by D. Balakrishna, the Sangeetha Kalarathna Awardee from Bangalore Gayana Samaja,” adds Revathi.   

This year will also see an art and melody combination, ‘Ramanjaneya’ with melodic storytelling by Vivek Sadasivam and art by Vinay Varanasi showcased on April 16.

(All concerts are at Seshadripuram College premises from 6.30pm)

Vainika D Balakrishna

Vainika D Balakrishna
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#Ramanavami #ushers #month #melodies #Bengaluru

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