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Veena Arangetram: Sanjana Sankar

Kausi Gurjar

On September 8th 2018, Sanjana Sankar’s family dream came true. Sanjana, a 16-year-old Lexington high school senior, brought a wonderful musical gift to her arangetram audience at the Sri Chinmaya Maruti Temple in Andover, MA.  Her soulful performance brought joy to the listeners, radiating happiness that spread through the room. Sanjana’s concert brought to life the words of the famous Tamil poet, Bharathidasan : Thunbam nergaiyil yaazh eduthu nee inbam serka maataayaa: “When I succumb to the sorrows of life, won’t you play the harp and add happiness to my life?”

Sanjana Sankar, a student of Smt. Revathi Ramaswamy-founder of the Upasana School of Music-made her guru and family proud in her Carnatic Veena arangetram. Anybody who knows Sanjana knows a very sweet girl, composed and hardworking, with a rare but bright smile. The confidence and poise that she displayed during the concert was refreshing and most welcome.

Here is what some of the local celebrities and wonderful gurus of the New England area have to say about Sanjana’s Veena recital.

Sri. Ram Naidu, Veena Artist

“It was a pleasure to attend Sanjana’s Veena Arangetram.  Starting with the varnam Viriboni in Bhairavi, Sanjana showcased compositions in a variety of ragas, talas and languages in a beautifully balanced concert. She was just at ease playing Syama Sastry’s Marivere in Anandabhairavi with meticulous care as she was playing lilting melodies in Kapi and Yamuna kalyani. Sanjana showcased the creative beauty of neraval and swara kalpana in Muthayya Bhagavathar’s Jalandhara. After a detailed alapana in Kiravani, Sanjana presented Tyagaraja’s Kaligiyunte gadha with improvisation at the line ‘Baguga Sri Raghu’ in the charana. Mahalingam Santhanakrishnan and Ravi Iyer provided sensitive and encouraging support on the Mridangam and Ghatam, and performed a brilliant percussion solo at the end of the kriti.

The Ragam Tanam Pallavi was the highlight of the concert. Presenting a Dvi-raga pallavi created by Revathi Ramaswamy, Sanjana navigated the challenging task of alternately presenting the grand majesty of Thodi with the delicate melody of Brindavani. The pallavi line “Govindam Mukundam Krishnam Baje” was elaborated and followed by the traditional Trikalam (3-speed rendition), swaras and a ragamalika finale featuring Sahana, Charukesi, Hamsanandi, Arabhi and Kanada.

Sanjana’s rendition of the pallavi was a testimony to her dedication, focus and hard work under the nurturing, thoughtful and expert guidance of her guru, Revathi Ramaswamy. The concert concluded with Lalgudi’s thillana in Madhuvanti, Aigiri nandini in Punnagavarali and Bhagyada Lakshmi in Madyamavathi.  The next day, my mind was filled with the lingering resonance of Thodi and Brindavani. “

Smt, Aparna Balaji, Vocal Artist

“Sanjana Sankar gave a scintillating performance on her Veena Arangetram. She performed with great maturity, poise, and understanding of the instrument.

I was particularly very impressed with her control on bhava in each and every Ragam she played, which made the concert much more enjoyable.

Many people in the audience were in tears, when she effortlessly switched from one Ragam to another in her Tanam for her RTP, which was beautifully composed by her guru Smt. Revathy Ramaswamy.

Sanjana was ably supported by Shri Mahalingam Santhanakrishnan  on the mridangam and Shri. Ravi Iyer on the ghatam. It was a wonderful concert. Sanjana has a bright future as a Vainika if she continues to be on the same path.”

Neena Gulati, Dance Artist

“Thank you for sharing a video clip from Sanjana's Veena arangetram, Very impressed with her talent. Wish I could have attended the arangetram. Heartiest congratulations to Sanjana.

Sanjana is obviously a very talented young lady. Besides excelling at her Veena arangetram, she continues to be a very dedicated student at Triveni Dance School, always eager to learn more challenging dances. I am looking forward to her dance arangetram in August 2019.   

Here are some impressions on the Arangetram from her friends...

Miss. Mahathi Athreya: Upcoming Vocal Artist

"The veena is a difficult instrument to play; not only because both sruthi and laya control are completely in the hands of the veena player, but because it's quite a difficult task to bring out bhavam with a veena. Yet, Sanjana did just that. Her performance was not only heartfelt and extremely well thought out by her Guru, it was a touching performance. That is a skill that cannot be learnt easily, and my congratulations go to Sanjana for being able to implement it into her skillful performance."

Miss Nithya Aryasomayajula: Senior Vocal Student

"With only 5 years of training under Smt. Revathi Ramaswami, the performance Sanjana pulled off was of a high caliber. Sanjana's playing was a culmination of the style of her guru, as well as her own unique style. Smt. Revathi Ramaswami and her mother, Smt. Ranganayaki Sundararajan, both used to play ragamalikas and tanamalikas and likewise, Sanjana did in her debut. Additionally, Sanjana's strong command over the ragam and the laya demonstrated the maturity in her performance. Congratulations to Sanjana for a commendable performance"

Swetha Meruva : Lexington High Senior

In the years that I've known Sanjana, I have always seen her as an incredibly caring friend and hardworking student. After seeming her performance, I was even more amazed by her understanding and talent in Carnatic music. For Sanjana to be able to cultivate such a skill while simultaneously taking so many AP courses at school is truly amazing. Congratulations Sanjana!

Guru Smt. Revathi Ramaswamy on her Shishya Sanjana Sankar,

“Upasana school of music is proud to have you as a student. Sanjana came to me with her mother Anandhi little over five years ago. Sanjana was learning vocal music from Smt Aparna Balaji. So she had basic foundation of Carnatic music.

Sanjana learned the technique of playing Veena and progressed quickly.  Even through quiet, she is strong willed. She blossomed into a beautiful person and a gifted veena player beyond her age. Sanjana not only picked up what I taught her, but also listened to other musicians and incorporated that into her playing.

Music is like an ocean, the more we learn, the lot more is there to take. My request to you is to always make music as part of your life.  I feel privileged to have been instrumental in introducing this art form to you. May God bless you and all the best in your future endeavors.”

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