The workshop planned by Ramprasadh and Indira Kadambi is for those who wish to soak in the atmosphere.
Should the experience of Chennai's December Season be restricted to music and dance in sabhas and indoors? No, say vocalist T.V. Ramprasadh and his dancer wife Indira Kadambi. Having conducted a couple of interactive workshops at Ambalam, their space in Kalakshetra Colony in Besant Nagar, they got the idea of having more interactive sessions during the season for the students of music and dance as well as connoisseurs.
“The idea is to share our tradition and culture with the younger generation and this is the long term goal of Ambalam,” says Ramprasadh. “We had earlier conducted a workshop, Parampara during March this year, with performances. This time round we want to make the sessions unique with stalwarts in the performing arts to share their expertise and knowledge with the students and rasikas. That's how the idea for SaMaaGaMa was born,” adds Ramprasadh. Samaagama means 'coming together' in Sanskrit.
The workshops are planned to he held in the open spaces at the Nageswara Rao park in Mylapore, which is another unusual angle. “When we thought of the location, we wanted to be where everything about the 'season' is happening. That is Mylapore. And the atmosphere we thought of was of a gurukulam where teachers and students come together under a tree for the learning sessions and that brought us to the park.”
Samagama is a two-day event to be held on Dec. 17 and 18. The string of events begins at 6 a.m., with a yoga session conducted by Renjith Babu. They consist of various forms of arts with workshops, performances and interactive sessions with maestros. A workshop of yoga for dancers and musicians on each of these two days by Renjith Babu will be held at 6 a.m. Sangita Iswaran conducts a dance workshop for children with or without dance background.
A Thappattam, folk dance workshop is conducted by C.H. Jaya Rao from Koothupattarai and now director of the Theatre lab. “Dancers need to know different forms of their art and it is important to know about our traditional folk form,” says Indira. Jaya Rao holds a session on mime too.
Veteran dance guru Prof. C.V. Chandrasekhar is conducting ‘Kreeda' - Dance while you play, open to both young and experienced dancers. Joy of Rhythm is a coming together of international artists with our own ghatam expert V. Suresh, with Carola Grey from Germany on the Drums, Vasilis Sarikis, Frame Drummer from London and Takaaki Kuno from Japan on the ghatam.
“We have a wealth of young talents in the age group of 8 to 16. To get ready for the concerts, they need a little guidance. 'Fine tuning of concert techniques' is a session by Srimushnam Raja Rao, mridangam vidwan and vocalist.
Sanhita Nandi, a singer of Kirana Gharana will interact with the participants on popular Hindustani ragas and their treatment.
A Pallavi workshop by mridangam vidwan Mannargudi Easwaran is for students and musicians with some experience.
Oliver Fox, saxophone-clarionet-flute player from Germany will conduct a session 'Melodic approach in Western music.' “This will throw light on how melody is handled in Western music keeping harmony in the background.
Guru P.S. Narayanaswamy's session is on manodharma. T.K.V. Ramanujacharyulu, violinist and an exponent in Telugu will guide the participants in diction regarding Telugu compositions.
There are also going to be screening of film clippings from yester year artistes' performances - both musicians and dances.
“We began brainstorming on the concept, themes and experts in each field about two months ago,” Indira reveals.
Ramprasadh says, “Many teachers shield their students from external influences and some students, on their own do not go out to see who is doing what. So interaction of this sort will help the learners know more during the one-on-one with the experts in respective field.”
How did the senior gurus react to having workshops in the open?
“Keeping each artist in mind we designed the workshops. They were very open and excited. Their generation is one that just wants to give away the knowledge they possess and that makes all the difference. None of the seniors nor the young artistes spoke about any terms. They just readily accepted once they were convinced about the concept,” says the couple.
Indira is happy that the two day event is designed as a holistic one with music and dance in various forms along with language and yoga.
For those who are not able to be physically present at the venue, Ambalam is streaming the entire event online live and it is available on demand also after the event.