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KHMC Virtual Concerts Continue During Covid-19 Pandemic Lockdown In 2020!

Jeyanthi Ghatraju, Shuchita Rao, Varun Chandramouli and Smitha Krishnan

As many in the New England area know, Karnatic Hindustani Music Circle of New England (KHMC) is a grass roots Indian Classical music organization, formed with the express purpose of promoting and providing a concert platform for seasoned musicians and budding talent in the New England area, in an up-close and personal chamber setting. By hosting Hindustani and Carnatic music in a single forum, KHMC, for the past 26 years, has been successfully bringing artists and audience of both genres of Indian classical music together providing education and understanding of the two forms. KHMC concerts are made possible by gracious host families who open their homes for the concerts, the terrific teachers and the artists in New England. KHMC is a 501(c3) non-profit organization fully run by volunteers and donations to KHMC are tax deductible. 

As soon as the lockdown was announced late last March, the committee sprang into action looking at possibilities to continue to bring bliss to the music lovers. On April 26, the first virtual concert featured Rasika Murali Mohan on the Carnatic vocal segment and Pranav Ghatraju’s solo tabla on Hindustani segment. Following that, the committee has had a hectic calendar offering concerts almost every Sunday from 5-6 PM with a variety of artists from all over the United States. The concert repertoire consists of Hindustani and Carnatic music and both vocal and instrumentals are included; concerts happen every Sunday, 5-6 PM.

Hindustani musical genres presented in 2020 ranged from the oldest living tradition “Dhrupad” to classical genres - Khyaal and Tarana, Semi-classical genres Thumri, Chaiti, Abhang and Bhajan and a raga based popular Bollywood film song. Many young artists ranging from middle school student such as Tarun Kancharla, high school student Neeharica Das and Shreyas Mosurkal college student Janani Sharma, Ph.D student Shubham Chatterjee and young professionals Aditya Rohit, Priyasha Chaturvedi and Pranav Ghatraju (Tabla) presented excellent Hindustani concerts. Veteran New England musicians such as vocalist Warren Senders, Saxophone artist Phil Scarff, Guitarod artist Phil Kaplan, Israj artist Dipankar Deshmukh, Ghazal artists, Rama Rao and Bay Area based artist Dilip Acharya enthralled viewers with their seasoned performances. KHMC committee members, Shuchita Rao gave a lecture demonstration on “Musical Genres in North Indian Music” while Bharatanatyam artist and Guru Jeyanthi Ghatraju presented a live collaboration with the well-known vocalist, Kiran Nath, who presented some of her own Thumri compositions. To see a mix of young, young-at-heart, rising stars, and established musicians, present Hindustani music in elegant home-based surroundings was a treat for all.

Equally, the Carnatic line-up for the 2020 Concert series provided a wide appeal! Every Sunday evening, the faithful New England rasikas were captivated by several magnificent performances by youthful, budding talents to accomplished, senior artists. The series was kicked off by Rasika Murali Mohan, followed by the exciting line-up of artists that included Prathik Bharadwaj, Hari and Hamsa Shanmugam, Rohith Chandrasekar, Arvind Mahalingam, Amrita Pai, Sreya and Sahana Sankar, Mahathi Athreya, Nitya Aryasomayajula, Keerthana Sivaramakrishnan, Sriva Raghavan, Akshayram and Aaradhya Sivakumar, Ritika Krishnamurthy, Sanjana Sankar, Shriya Srinivasan, Ullas Rao, and Mahima Vinay, Lochan Karthikeyan, Srinidhi Sridhar and Sutikshna Veeravalli. 

KHMC hosted several delightful instrumental concerts by the following artists - Bagwat Krishnan (Keyboard), Prayuth Naduthota (Flute), Vishal Sowmyan (Violin), Sahana Venkatesh, Prisha Naduthota, and Sanjana Sankar, Shanthi Subbarayan, and Diya Ganesh and Darshan Ganesh (Veena). On the mridangam, we had Shri Pravin Sitaram, Saketh Jayanthi, and Maheedar Athreya, who provided live accompaniment to the Carnatic artists.

KHMC committee members themselves are accomplished performing artists. Mahalingam Santhanakrishnan, Varun Chandramouli, and Smitha Krishnan stepped up and provided instrumental support to the vibrant musical community of Greater Boston.

Another collaborative effort of some of the KHMC committee members, was the memorial concert for Hindustani music maestro, Padmavibhushan, Pandit Jasraj, fondly called as Bade Guru ji by his followers. Shuchita Rao, Neelima Chaturvedi, Uma Sankar, Jyoti Sharma, Vandana Rao and Vaishnavi Kondapalli presented a short piece as their way of offering their respects to the guru, Smitha Krishnan presented the Carnatic segment with so much verve and Jeyanthi Ghatraju paid tribute by performing Bharatanatyam to one of his musical compositions.

Through one of the most challenging years in history, KHMC was honored to provide a positive channel where keen audiences could gather around and enjoy a wide variety of concerts from performers across ages and diverse musical backgrounds at the comfort of their homes. Without a doubt, KHMC owes its everlasting gratitude to volunteers - Sankar Gangaikondan, and families of the many artists, who worked with KHMC committee members, (Uma Sankar, Sivakumar Santhanakrishnan,  Mahalingam Santhanakrishnan, Jyoti Sharma, Jeyanthi Ghatraju, Shuchita Rao, Vandana Rao, Vaishnavi Kondapalli, Smitha Krishnan, Varun Chandramouli and  Neelima Chaturvedi) for their tireless efforts, timely support, and contagious enthusiasm in bringing these virtual concerts week after week with high quality.

To tune into the concerts and for more information about KHMC, please go to our KHMC youtube channel (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=032hLqDyfLI&feature=youtu.be). To be a part of the KHMC community, email us - khmc.group@gmail.com. KHMC welcomes your support, both in-kind and financial, as it continues to promote and facilitate musical enrichment in the New England area. Please connect with us through khmc.donations@gmail.com.

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