The Bharath Sangeeth Utsav, held in Detroit, U.S., was a treat for the diaspora.
For two days, Metro Detroit’s love for multi-cultural music was proudly showcased in the city of Novi, organised by the School of World Music and Dance. The Indian music festival, Bharath Sangeeth Utsav (September 22 and 23) treated the community’s Asian-Indian classical music lovers in U.S. to several melodious sessions of authentic Carnatic music presented by visiting artists from India as well as students and gurus of the school run by music connoisseur, Lalitha Ramamoorthy and musician K.N. Shashikiran.
It opened with an excellent musical presentation, titled ‘Carnatic Symphony,’ staged by the talented students of the School of World Music and Dance, where Carnatic music harmonised with beautiful western melodies, supported by gifted young accompanists on the violin and mridangam.
This was followed by a scintillating and colourful, professionally choreographed dance drama glorifying Lord Krishna. The production, which involved more than 50 persons, had stunning performances that underscored a passion for the art. Besides involving the students of the school, it also showcased the flair of many wonderful, passionate female dancers from the Detroit Metropolitan area.
‘Kreative 2012,’ an innovative talent competition, introduced for the first time in U.S., was the second day’s morning highlight. The unexplored talents of North America were in the spotlight, as the participants –children and adults- showed their innovativeness, creativity and artistry in music, dance and on the various musical instruments. They were ably judged by the noted performers of the field.
K.N. Shashikiran and P. Ganesh, the popular Carnatica Brothers’s rendition of a beautiful extempore pallavi signifying the theme of the Bharat Sangeeth Utsav was musical oratory at its best. The silky rich voice of Ganesh blended smoothly with the majestic, deep-toned vocals of K.N. Shashikiran to deftly render the Carnatic ragas, in a dazzling performance. The duo was ably and efficiently supported on the violin by Keerthana Shankar and on the mridangam by Vinod Seetharaman.
The art of story-telling or ballads was well exemplified by Harikatha - the story of Lord Rama composed in a musical style that incorporates the elements of Carnatic music and a folk-lore style of narration. Presented by Suchitra Balasubramanian, a well-known Harikatha artist from India, her beautiful voice narrated the dedication of Lord Rama’s devotee, Shri Anjaneya, through a style that was both unique and entertaining. Musical accompaniment was provided by a versatile team, with Jayshankar Balan on the violin and Vinod Seetharaman on the mridangam.
The programme concluded with the melodious voice of Dr. Pantula Rama, another outstanding Carnatic musician from India. The thematic concert glorifying Lord Venkateswara, was the icing on the cake. Dr. Pantula Rama was superbly accompanied by M.S.N Murthy on the violin and Tanjore Murugaboopathy on the mridangam, who greatly embellished the melodious voice with their synchronised playing.
That art transcends barriers was amply proved by the School of World Music and Dance. The Bharath Sangeeth Utsav 2013, will be held in September again.
(For information about the School of World Music and Dance, and Bharath Sangeeth Utsav 2013, contact the school’s director, Lalitha Ramamoorthy at 248-767-4409 or K.N Shashikiran at 423 534 9724)