Sunday, March 30, 2014

The music of Pravaha

Geetham Vadhyam Thatha Nrityam Thrayam Sangeetha Mucchyathe
Sangeetham comprises of Geetham ( songs), Vadhyam( instruments) and Natyam ( Dance)
Music and dance are incomplete without each other. It is the music which adds lustre to a Bharatanatyam recital. 
Bharatanatyam is danced to Carnatic music. The mathematical precision of Bharatanatyam equals that of Carnatic Music measure for measure.

Jyothishmathi Sheejith Krishna has composed the music for Pravaha. She is an accomplished Carnatic vocalist and composer who received her postgraduate diploma in music from the Kalakshetra Foundation in 1997. She has sung in the lead for many classic Kalakshetra Repertory ensemble dance productions. As an independent artist, she has toured with illustrious Bharatanatyam dancers such as CV Chandrasekkar, VP and Shanta Dhananjayan, Leela Samson, and Malavika Sarukkai. Jyothishmathi has composed several musical scores for dance as an individual artist and in partnership with dancer-choreographer husband Sheejith Krishna. Their innovative and critically lauded collaborations include Masquerade (2007), Krishna Bharatham (2009), and Parinaamam (2010).

She speaks to Renuka Vaidyanathan about the process of creating music for Pravaha:

“When we started thinking about the kind of music to have in Pravaha, especially in the beginning when we are portraying the primitive age, we decided not to use a lot of lyrics. We explored what could be done without using lyrics and decided on using a lot of rhythm in the beginning. We have not used any electronic music- all the effects, music and sounds are manually created. When portraying cloud, rain and river, we have created something very original and musical- you will see it for yourself when you see the production! We have used group singing with just musical notes very effectively while portraying some of these scenes.

We have used lyrics while portraying Ganga or while telling the story of Kalidasa’s epic poem Meghadutam.  To reach out to a wider audience, we have used just instrumental music without lyrics in many places.  My roots and grounding are in Carnatic music so the entire premise is Carnatic music based though I have Hindustani ragas where appropriate: for example I have used a Hindustani Raga like Megh to depict cloud.

When Sheejith and I work together, it is a very professional relationship- as you know, he is a very meticulous and demanding choreographer.  The advantage of working with him is that he knows exactly what he wants and as a musician, it becomes easier for me to give him what he wants as music.

When I worked with him on Krishna Bharatham, which was a more traditional production, our challenge was to fit the traditional lyrics into my music.  We worked with a combination of ragas which would portray the mood of the characters. As Pravaha is abstract and not character based, it has been more of a challenge.”

Without giving too much away, we can assure you that Pravaha’s music will be refreshing, dynamic  and will have cross-cultural appeal.  Come, join us to see for yourself what all has gone int o Pravaha to make it much more than a dance production.

Here is a glimpse of the Pravaha musicians:

Nellai Ravindran: Violin


Nellai Ravindran holds a Bachelor’s degree from Madurai Kamaraj University.  He underwent advanced training in Violin under Sri S A Subramania Pillai for 7 years at Tirunelveli. He has accompanied several senior artists in India and is a “B” grade artist in All-India Radio.

Susanta Chowdhury: Sitar


Susanta Chowdhury had his early training from his father Sri Bhupendra Nath Chowdhury and subsequently went under the tutelage of Sri Shyamal Chattopadhya. He then became a disciple of the famed Padmabhushan Pandit Debu Chaudhuri under whom he groomed into a fine Sitar Player. Susanta received his MA (Music) from Delhi University with Summa Cum Laude, and is also an A grade artist in All-India Radio and television.

Mihir Kundu: Tabla


Mihir Kundu is a prominent Tabla Artist from India. His initial Tabla training was from Shri Sabyasachi Sengupta and later went on to do his Guru Sishya Parampara under the Tabla maestro Pt. Sankha Chatterjee. He has received several prestigious titles like the Jadubhatta award from Saltl ake Cultural Association (Kolkata) and Talmani award from Sursingar Samsad (Mumbai). Mihir has shared the stage with many stalwarts and has also performed extensively in India, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Italy and South East Asia.

M B T Sridevi: Veena


 Sridevi holds a Diploma in Veena and has also done a Certificate Course in Vocal. She is a“B” High Grade artist of All India Radio in Classical Veena. Her Veena tutelage comes from Sri. B. Sankar Prakash, an A.I.R “A” Grade Staff Artist. She has done her MA in Veena music with Tirupathi Mahila Padmavathi University and is currently pursuing her PhD in Andhra University. She is a renowned performer since 1978 and has performed all over the world. 

Chettitharaveetil Haridas Sreekanth:  Mridangam


Sreekanth is the disciple of Prof.Sri Cherthala S Dhinesh and Guru Padmabushan T V Gopalakrishnan. Sreekanth completed his Diploma in Mridangam at R.L.V. Music College of Fine Arts, Tripunithura. He also holds a Master Degree with first class from Mahatma Gandhi University,  Kottayam. He has accompanied senior artists such as Guru Padmabushan T V Gopalakrishnan and famous Bharatanatyam dancers Sri C V Chandrasekhar and the Dhananjayans.

V K Sivakumar : Flute


Sivakumar holds a Vadhya Visharadha Diploma in flute from Tamil Nadu Government Music College. He has had the privilege of learning for seven years under Flute maestro Dr. N Ramani and also under Mr. R. Thyagarajan. Sivakumar is a regular solo artist who has performed all over India; he is  an accomplished accompanist for music and dance concerts as well and has worked with stalwarts like violinist Kalaimamani Kanyakumari and Sri Karaikudi Mani Iyer.

Janaki Sadagopan: Vocal


Janaki first learnt music from her mother Rajeswari Sadagopan. Then she joined Gana Kala Vidya Nilayam in Goregaon, Mumbai where she learnt music from Mrs. Sampoorni and later Mrs. Girija Narasimhan. She did her B.A. music at Tamil Nadu Govt. Music College, Thiruvaiyaru and was a disciple of Prof. Dr. P Uma Maheswari. She obtained top rankings after studying at Bharathidasan University as well as her Seethalakshmi Ramaswamy College, Trichy where she finished her post-graduation.

Nanditha Gurunath: Vocal


Nandhitha Gurunath,  is the disciple of Smt. Raji Shekar at the Temple of Fine Arts and went on to learn under Smt. Mangalam Shankar and Smt. Allepey Lakshmi Vinayhak in Singapore Indian Fine Arts Society. She finished her diploma in SIFAS in Carnatic music and earned the title Sangeetha Visharadh. She also holds the title of Voice of Singapore given by the Carnatic Careers Academy. She has performed on several stages in Singapore, India and abroad.

Lakshmanan Senthil: Tabla


 Lakshmanan started learning Tabla at the age of 5, under the guidance and tutelage of Guru Ahmad Safraz at the Singapore Indian Fine Arts Society. Then, he moved on to be the disciple of Guru Mihir Kundu, from whom he has been learning for the past 6 years. He has performed widely in concerts and performances organized by SIFAS, both locally and internationally.

Ganesh Jayabal: Percussion


Ganesh Jayabal is a disciple of Sri T R Sundaresan. He holds a diploma in Mridangam and has also been awarded the Vadhya Visharadh title from SIFAS in 2012. He been playing in classical concerts and orchestra regularly. His latest involvement was in Giri Samkeerthana Sanagama, a SIFAS Alumni orchestra production in 2013.

Sai Vigneshwar:  Vocal


Sai Vigneshwar started learning Carnatic vocal music at the Temple of Fine Arts, Singapore from Smt Rajalakshmi Sekar and performed his Arangetram under the guidance of Smt Gowri Gokul. He was awarded the title Geethanjali by Swami Shantanand Saraswati in 2002, and in 2010, the Singapore Indian Fine Arts Society awarded him the Diploma in Carnatic music and the title "Sangeetha Visharadh". Sri Sai Vigneshwar has performed in Singapore, India, Malaysia and Australia as a solo artist and supporting vocalist for dance productions as well. Sai Vignesh is currently undergoing advanced training from Shri Rajkumar Bharathi in Chennai.

The Chorus:

Akshayaa Sivaram


Akshayaa has completed her 8 year Diploma in Carnatic Music from  Singapore Indian Fine Arts Society. She was initially under the tutelage of Guru C.Pathmalingam and subsequently under Guru Poorna Pragna Rao. Kumari Akshayaa is currently undergoing advanced Manodharma training from Shri Papanasam Ashok Ramani. She has also performed a number of Carnatic vocal Concerts in Singapore, as part of the Navarathri, Vasantha Utsavam and Mandalabishegam concerts in temples.

Rajalakshmi Nageswaran


Rajalakshmi Nageswaran started learning Carnatic vocal at SIFAS  at the age of 9 from Guru V.K. Sivakumar for 5 yrs. She won the Best Student award in her 5th year exam. She later learnt from Guru Poorna Pragna Rao for 2 yrs. She is presently under the tutelage of Guru T.P. Nishanth. She has performed in SIFAS festival of music and dance and is also part of SIFAS Orchestra. She has performed in various temple programs as well.

Nishanth Thyagarajan


Nishanth started learning Carnatic vocal from Mrs. Sharadha Shankar at the age of six. He joined Singapore Indian Fine Arts Society (SIFAS) in 2006 and is now being groomed by Delhi Muthukumar, Chennai. Sri Nishanth completed the 8 year diploma course at SIFAS under the tutelage of Guru S P P Rao, and received the title award of Sangeetha Visharad. He also bagged the ‘Best Student’ award in the 5th and 8th year vocal examinations conducted by SIFAS. He is a frequent performer in the various concerts  organised by SIFAS, and also in the December Music Season.

Sharadh Rajaraman


Sharadh is a disciple of Guru T P Nishanth and completed his 8th year diploma in SIFAS in 2012. He has performed in several events organized by SIFAS and externally. He recently gave a Carnatic vocal recital in Chennai Music Academy in the 2013 Music Festival. He is also learning Carnatic violin under the tutelage of Guru Nellai Ravindran. Under his tutelage, Sharadh earned the title of Vadhya Visharadh from SIFAS for his 8th year diploma.

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