Classical bells of the desert-Kuwait

Posted on 2/24/2014

My article in the last supplement of `Shukran Kuwait’ talked of my tryst with Classical Carnatic music in Kuwait in the last decade. I wrote on my association with great maestros like Oscar nominee Vidushi Bombay Jayashri, Grammy nominee, the great flautist Pandit Ronu Majumdar, as they very graciously accepted my invitation to perform on the occasion of the Aradhanas for the trinity of Carnatic Music. My article also spoke of how humbling, yet a matter of pride it was for me to produce a work on `Music and emotions’ with Carnatic ragas portraying a canvass of emotions like (love, power, ecstasy), for the museum collection at the famed `Dar-al-athar-al-Islamiyyah’

Dwelling deeper into my sojourn, classical Indian music, with its huge repertoire of ragas, about (34,000 in the Carnatic system), is a panacea for the soul. When one wakes up in the morning, one hears the chirping of the birds, the drop of the dew and the mild rustling of the wind. Every such movement reverberates with music .The waves of the sea carry not only music but also rhythm in them. When nature provides us with so much of musical sound, we as humans need to search within to understand and comprehend this gift of god to humanity `music’

Kuwait, a home away from home for many of us expats, has been a boon for me as a Guru( teacher) to explore the unexplored facets of Classical music, not just by way of teaching talented young minds from the expat community, but also students across cultures. A student, a local Arab musician, inspired by Carnatic music took up the mrudangam (percussion) under the maestro Trichy Sankaran, at Toronto.

Today, at `Raag`N’Rhythm, we conduct Aradhana(Homage)for the great Vaggyekaras(Sri Sadhguru Thyagaraja, Sri Muthuswami Dikshitar,Sri Syama Sastri)(Sangeetha Moomurthigal) of Carnatic Classical Genre. This has opened our eyes to how these great composers had strived to attain oneness of mankind through their elevated works. On one such occasion the students came up with a unique puppet show on the life of the great composer Syama Sastri,while some penned down a poem on the composer. Such platforms enhance musical creativity and competence, while helping to retain our cultural tenets, which is so pivotal today. As students of the forum perform in Melbourne, Iowa, Muscat, India, how gratifying it is!!!!!!!

In my recent interaction with the renowned pianist, cellist, violinist, Dr Samy, while listening to Carnatic raga Revathi, he remarked, ``I haven’t heard so much of meditativeness, grace and poise in any other music form’’. Equally inspiring was the concert of the French student of Maestro T.M.Krishna, Emmanuel Martin, which I attended at the recently concluded Margazhi Festival, the biggest classical Carnatic music festival of the world in Chennai. As she very elegantly maneuvered Bhavanutha in raga Mohana and a Sahana varnam, I was left dumbfounded `a French pronouncing tamizh,telugu,sanksrit with such clarity and performing a classical Carnatic concert in Chennai, the mecca of Carnatic music,! It reminded me of the yesteryear American Carnatic Bhagavathar John Higgins.

Albert Einstein said` “If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music’’. So says the visually impaired Carnatic Vocalist Padma Sri awardee Gayatri Sankaran, who has developed the Braille notation for Carnatic Compositions, ``I enjoy my soul-talk with tunes’’

Being in Kuwait surprisingly has enhanced my musical insight, I think more music, I teach more music and I create more music. As I teach, I realize each day, that I am a humble student ever of this sublime form of music and will continue on my sojourn to evolve as a better human being and spread the message of universality through music. `For, music is panacea for the soul’!

Kuwait, a land which is totally foreign to Indian classical music is now evolving into a land where classical bells of Indian music ring frequently. Thanks to Kuwait for supporting this scintillating, sublime and soothing Indian Classical music.
n me

Mrs Malini Viswanath

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