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A Scintillating Fusion Of Lute And Flute

Ranjani Saigal

 Learnquest Academy presented a Jugalbandi by the Carnatic Maestros Chitraveena Ravikiran and Flute Shashank at the Keefe Technical high school in Framingham, Ma on Sunday, April 3rd 2005. The concert was a fundraiser to aid the victims of the Tsunami disaster. 

The music of these maestros can only be described as magical. Individually Ravikiran and Shashank are brilliant. Together they were successful in creating a fusion of melodies that was able to touch the audience.   The were ably assisted in their effort by the percussion ensemble lead by Satish Kumar on the Mridangam, Phalgun on the Kanjira and a women Ghatam artist, Sukanya Ramgopal.

The evening opened with a welcome by Dr. Pradeep Shukla, the founder of Learnquest. Shukla began by paying tribute to the Late Pope John Paul II.  Suresh Madhu from Association of India Development (AID) gave an update of all the work that is being done by AID in different parts of India. He urged everyone to not only contribute money but also become part of AID so that people can be more active in providing help. Learnquest faculty, vocalist Aparna Balaji, and Vainika Durga Krishnan, introduced the artists.

The musical journey for the evening began with a brisk Varnam in Nattakurinji. This was followed by a Thygaraja Krithi is Sarasangi. Mokshamu Galadha in Saramati followed. The center piece for the evening was the Ragam Tanam Pallavi(RTP) . The artists opened the RTP with Ragam Bantuvarali. Sahana, Behag, Kapi, Hindolam, Sindubairavi and Neelambari followed. They recital ended with two short pieces, a Khamas Javali, Marubari , and the Purandaradasa Kriti, Jagadodharana.in Kapi Ragam.

It was wonderful to see the artists take their time to elaborate the different Ragams instead of presenting many little compositions. Manodharma or improvisation was central to the whole musical presentation. Ravikiran with his unique instrument and Shashank with his unique flute playing style which he calls the multi flute transposed fingering technique created an extraordinary range of musical expression

Bhanu Jayaraman, a carnatic music aficionado in the Boston area who was instrumental in making the concert a reality was very pleased with the concert.  “There was a good understanding between the main and accompanying artists both Ravi and Shashank held their originality and creativity without obstructing the other. Both were weaving thru the notes making creative patterns without losing melody. Pleasant and melodious conversation between the two accentuated by equally harmonious blending of the accompanying artists made this an evening to remember”, said Jayaraman.

Providing percussion support to these maestros and their complicated presentation is not an easy job and the percussion ensemble led by Satish Kumar on the Mridangam is to be commended for doing an admirable job. The Tani by Satish Kumar, Phalgun and Sukanaya Ramagopal was very interesting without being overpowering.

“There is always a market for quality and the artists of the evening have proved it” said the famous carnatic vocalist Sangeeta Chudamani Shri O.S Thygarajan who happened to be in the audience. The program ended with a vote of thanks by Learnquest faculty, Mridangist Praveen Sitaram. The great music and the delicious dinner that followed left the audience with the satisfaction of having enjoyed a great evening while supporting a worthwhile cause.

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