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Boston Kids Continue To Shine In Cleveland Thyagaraja Aradhana 2017

Uma Sankar

The Cleveland Thyagaraja Festival is the largest Indian classical music festival outside of India. It was first celebrated in 1978 and has now grown to be a 12-day festival with more than 8,000 attendees with 2,000 appearing for the opening weekend. The year 2017 is the Festival's 40th year. A major highlight of the Aradhana is competition of music and dance where talented kids from different parts of the US participate .This year there were 900+ participation for competition in just music.

Once again this year couple students from New England area participated and won prizes.  A list of the children who won prizes is provided below:

Darshan Ganesh got the 1st prize in the Mridangam sub junior category. Darshan Ganesh has been learning Mridangam from his guru Gaurish Chandrashekhar since 2016. Prior to that Darshan learnt mridangam from Ravi Iyer since 2014. He recently started learning carnatic vocal from guru Mrs. Durga Krishnan. Darshan is a 3rd grade student in Andover, MA and likes to play football and soccer.”

Sreya Sankar won the 2nd place in Alapana competition junior category. Sreya Sankar started learning music from her mother  Smt. Uma Sankar and continues to learn from her and does advance training from renowned and very accomplished musician and Guru Sri.Suryaprakash Ramachandran.( Chennai, India) for the past 6 months. She has done workshops from different eminent musicians. She was part of Sustaining Sampradaya organized by Cleveland Thyagaraja aradhana for the year 2015. She has won many competitions and taken part in many musical  festivals conducted in the New England area. She also learns violin from Guru. Smt. Tara Anand for the past 3 and half years. She is very passionate about these art forms and intends to persue it seriously. Her hobbies include dancing, reading, videography. She is currently a 7th grader at Oak middle school, Shrewsbury, MA.

Swetha Vasu also participated in Veena Competition (Student of Smt. Durga Krishnan)

PANCHAMUKHI PRODUCTION 2017: Written by Sirisha Kasarla.

It was a matter of great honor for our kids to present ‘Panchmukhi – the five facets of Indian Music’ at the prestigious Cleveland Thyagaraja festival on April 17 th, 2017. The kids have worked hard over the past few months under the guidance of Vidwan Sri. V.V.S. Murari and Vidushi Smt.Aparna Balaji for this event. It was an enriching experience for kids and parents alike to be a part of this event  commemorating the 250 th Birth Anniversary of Saint Thyagaraja and the 40th year Cleveland Festival.

Panchamukhi, the brainchild of versatile musician and composer, Sri V.V.S. Murari brought together the five facets of Indian Music in a one hour presentation. The classical and semiclassical segment included songs like ‘Kanchadalayadaakshi’ in ragam Kamalamanohari, ‘Gurulekha Etuvanti’ in ragam Gaurimanohari, ‘Himadrisuthe’ in ragam Kalyani, ‘Rajeevalochanam’ and Raaga malika ‘Kurai Onrum Illai’ composed by Rajaji. The movie segment included songs like ‘Janani Janani’ and the perennial classic ‘Kaatrinele Varum Geetham’ sung and enacted by Late Bharat Ratna M.S.Subbulakshmi in the movie Meera. Both the songs were visually presented through the Abhinaya of Bharatanatyam. The folk song ‘Valli Kannavan’ captivated the audience imagination with the fast beat by the singers and the dancers alike. Throughout the presentation, there was smooth transition between each facet, be it western classical of Vivaldi Springs or the Hindusthani classic ‘Vaishnavo Janatho’. The performance concluded with a befitting composition of Saint Tyagaraja ‘Pavanuja Sutha’ presented in A – Capella style conveying the message that ‘Music is beyond barriers’

It will not be an exaggeration to state that ‘Panchamukhi’ was a treat appealing to the five senses.

PANCHAMUKHI PRODUCTION 2017 in VVS Murari’s words:

Aparna Balaji, a versatile artiste , hails from a family of musicians. Having trained in carnatic music at its chaste best she has been training worthy stutents in Boston area for almost two decades now and taking the musical aspirants to a greater level. Her daughter and disciple Mahathi Athreya is a budding young simger has a great future. Her prime disciple Amritha Pai is a talent to be watched for in the concert platform. 

It was a great pleasure and an enjoyable experience in training Aparna's students for my Panchamukhi production which was premiered at the prestigious Cleveland Thyagaraja Festivel on April 17th 2017. They were very receptive and worked very hard with me making this production a successful one. Special credit to both Amritha and Mahathi for holding the entire show together rubbing shoulders with various senior youth musicians from other part of the country.


The Aradhana Committee continues its education series Sustaining Sampradaya, for its 11th year. This year  fisrt tribute was to Dr. S. Ramanathan and Sri.Vellore G. Ramabhadran which was on Saturday 15th April . Dr S. Ramanathan who was a musician, musicologist, and a key figure in propagating Carnatic music in North America. We also celebrate the contributions of Sangeetha Rathnakara Vellore G. Ramabhadran, who embodied the serenity of sarvalaghu, and the art of accompaniment on the mridangam. 

The second Tribute was to Sri. Karukurichi Arunachalam on Monday 17th April.The program was dedicated to the memory of the musician whose spectacular career was cut short, but still made a huge impact not only on the classical music world, but also in film which helped expand the reach of Carnatic music to new audiences. Sindhu Anandraj, Yash Ravish, Neha Moorthy, Sahana Venkatesh participated in this stream.

Here is a brief bio of the all the kids who participated for the Sustaining Sampradaya this year! Kudos to all the kids who have participated and have undergone this rigorous training by eminent musicians spearhead by Smt. Suguna Varadachari mami.

Yash Ravish is a student of Guru Smt. Tara Anand at the Anubhava school of music, where he learns Carnatic vocal and violin. He is very passionate about Carnatic music, and is an avid listener.He has performed at community events and represented Anubhava at local musical events . Before he came under the tutelage of Tara Anand, he has learnt from Smt. SandhyaGanesh and Smt. Aparna Balaji. Yash attends 7th grade at the Ottoson Middle School in Arlington MA. Apart from his interest in music, he enjoys honing his math skills.

Neha Murthy is a sophomore at Sharon High School. She has been learning carnatic music from Smt. Tara Bangalore of Anubhava School of Music since 2010. She is extremely passionate about her music and has been performing at other local venues.In addition to carnatic music, she is an accomplished cellist and pianist. Skiing, cycling and travelling are her other hobbies, besides music.

Sindhuja Anandraj is a 7th grader who has been an ardent learner of music and dance since her early childhood. She started learning Carnatic music from the age of 4 and bhartanatyam from the age of 5. At her early years, Sindhu learnt music from her mom, Smt. Priya Anand. Later she went on to learn advanced level of music from Vidushi Sahana Samraj - disciple of Vidushi Smt. Suguna Varadachari. Sindhu has also performed in many carnatic music events and competitions in the New England area. Very recently she also participated in Sustaining Sampradaya to continue her quench her desire in learning carnatic music with some of our great vidhwans and vidhushis. Sindhu has also been training Bharatanatyam under the tutelage of Smt. Sridevi Thirumalai for 7 years and has performed in several temples and events. In addition, Sindhu also has a general interest in painting and crafts as well.

Sahana Venkatesh, a sophomore at Andover High School in Andover, Massachusetts, started learning Carnatic Vocal music at the age of 4, initially under the tutelage of Guru Smt.Valli Bhamadipati. Subsequently she has been learning from Guru Smt.Tara Anand since 2010. In addition to Carnatic Vocal music, Sahana has been learning Veena for the past 9 years under the tutelage of Guru Smt. Durga Krishnan and Bharatanatyam from Guru Smt. Sunanda Narayanan since 2011. Sahana has also completed SAFL- a three year Sanskrit program run by Samskrita Bharati. This is her second year trip to Cleveland Aradhana and she participated in the sustaining Sampradaya Karukurichi stream.

SIVANUM SIVAKUMARIYUM ( Conducted By Sri. Papanasam Ashok Ramani): 

This program is a group rendition of gems of Brahmasri. Papanasam Sivan and Dr. Rukmin Ramani( Sivakumari) by 135 talented participants from North America. Special thanks to Srividya Vasudevan who helped and trained the kids one on one for the perfect rendering.

Papnasam Sivan was a prominent composer and singer of carnatic music. Sivan was a true follower of St. Thyagaraja and hence hailed as tamil Thyagayya. His compositions range from Varnams, Krithis, Javali, Padams and operas. Numerous vidwans from the past and present have sung his compositions as part of their Kutcheri performences.

Sahana Sankar student of Smt Uma Sankar participated in this group rendering and was fortunate to learn these krithis under the guidance of Ashok sir and perform in front of eminent musicians in Cleveland this year. She also participates in all the music festivals in new england area and have sung and won competitions. Sahana also learns violin from Guru Smt. Tara Anand and Piano from Stephanie sellers. She is a 3rd grader from Floral street school, Shrewsbury. Her hobbies are painting, reading and loves to spend time with family.

Kudos to all the kids from the boston area to participate in such a wide range of programs in Cleveland. My sincere thanks to all the parents and Gurus who have immensely contributed towards this musical journey.

Mahima Shyamala Vinay participated in the S.Ramanathan/Vellore Ramabhadran stream of the Sustaining Sampradaya concert in 2017.  She is blessed to be a disciple of Vid. Tara Anand of the Anubhava School of Music since a tender age. Mahima is currently a 5th grader at Northpoint Elementary School, Granger, Indiana, where her family relocated to last summer. Mahima has been an integral part of Anubhava school presentations for over 5 years. She is also a prior participant in the Sustaining Sampradaya program and has won a prize the prior Cleveland competitions. Additionally Mahima a singer in the Indiana’s Circle the State 5th grade choir and is enthusiastic about piano, reading, mathematics and baking.

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