You know spring has arrived when the Sree Ramaseva Mandali’s three-foot programme list arrives, weeks ahead of Bangalore’s most prestigious annual celebration of Indian classical music at the Fort High School grounds in Chamarajpet.
This year, some 200 artistes will participate in 75 concerts even as 38 religious discourses have been planned for as many days. The festival, in its 72nd edition and on from March 24 to April 30, will cost the organisers nearly Rs. 50 lakh this time round.
A formal Bhoomi Puja is scheduled on February 17 for the pandal which will be a professionally mounted structure with wood-and-iron trusses with zinc and waterproof fabric cover. With wooden planks as flooring, it is acoustics-friendly too.
“It will accommodate 4,500 persons,” said S.N. Varadaraj, son of the late S.V. Narayanaswamy Rao, who founded the Mandali in 1938.
“For the first time, a weeklong day-and-night music programme will take place in the air-conditioned pandal. There would be four full-length concerts a day like during the Chennai December music season. Established musicians such as A.K.C. Natarajan, T.N. Krishnan, S. Sowmya, Hyderabad Brothers, Bombay Sisters, M.S. Sheela as well as leading stars like Sikkil Gurucharan, Shashank (flute), Abhishek Raghuram and E. Gayathri will perform,” he says.
Also set to perform are the venerable vocalist K.S. Gopalakrishnan and nadaswara vidwan Thiruvizha Jaishankar from Kerala, while Hindustani music will be represented by Pandit Jasraj, Sanjeev Abhayankar, and Vishwa Mohan Bhatt and Mysore Manjunath in a jugalbandi.
An English Ramayana harikatha by Vishaka Hari and Rajesh Vaidhya’s Carnatic and contemporary music on the veena are also newer inclusions.
The S.V. Narayanaswamy National Memorial Award this year will be presented to violinist M.S. Gopalakrishnan.