A harmony of melodies

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TRANSCENDING BARRIERS L. Subramanium: `There's always been a global character to this festival as my father was a deep patron of international orchestras'
TRANSCENDING BARRIERS L. Subramanium: `There's always been a global character to this festival as my father was a deep patron of international orchestras'

The second leg of the Lakshminarayana Global Music Festival takes off on February 3

"Our objective is to promote peace and harmony through global music, with a harmonious blend of different cultural traditions," said violinist Dr. L. Subramaniam, all set to flag off the second leg of concerts of the Lakshminarayana Global Music Festival, an annual musical obeisance to his musician father-and-guru, Prof. V. Lakshminarayana. Fusion concerts will be featured at New Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Bangalore, and Goa in the second segment, beginning February 3, with the Garden City hosting French orchestral artistes during the third week of February. International artistes of varied musical genres along with Dr. Subramaniam and wife Kavitha will perform at the worldwide extravaganza with this year's Global Festival having six overseas shows including the U.S., Far East and Middle East. The festival was flagged off at Chennai last month followed by Trivandrum, Calicut and Hyderabad."There's always been a global character to this festival as my father was a deep patron of international orchestras and strived towards bringing the "bow instrument" as a primary solo, on par with the western violin," says Subramaniam. And who could ever forget the varied fare put forward in several Indian cities by Subramanaim for the last 15 years in the global reverence to the violinist-professor annually? For instance, the ensemble brought over from across the world in 1999 had the Danish team of Knut and Iver perform traditional Norwegian numbers that included a bridal march song that had the audience in raptures in every show. Or the mind-blowing Chinese Zhang Zhulian who performed a traditional piece on the Pipa, or the 50-minute Basant raag that the genius Bismillah Khan blew on his Shehnai! Not to forget the not-so-known instruments and artistes, the Pan-flute and Australian Pijiridoo throwing across distinctive statements of global cultural intermingle.Prof. Lakshminarayana belonged to the guru-shishya parampara of Baluswamy Dikshitar believed to have introduced the violin to Indian music. He was a contemporary of Papa Venkataramaiyya, Raja Manickam Pillai, Dwaram Venkataswamy Naidu, and Mysore Chowdiah. Before landing on the Indian shores in 1958 after the ethnic strife of Sri Lanka took serious tones, Lakshminarayana had served a few years as a professor in Jaffna and Colombo."My father brought in a new wave with his bowing, with his rare left-hand techniques showing up new tonalities. In fact the plucking style, adopted from the veena was another of his brainwave," says Subramaniam. "This helps the instrument gain speed and variation, especially in orchestras. And such endeavours proved a boon to me during my jamming with Zubin Mehta, Stephane Grappelli and my first patron of Lakshminarayana Festival, Yehudi Menuhin." For Subramaniam, this year's Global show is special as this is the 15th Commemorative Festival. The idea was to have 15 cities across the world hear some outstanding music in memory of a champion violinist, who was a virtuoso featured in the Millennium Stamp released by the Government of India in 2000. This year's shows in other cities featured a tillana by Birju Maharaj set to a rare Devipriya raga composed by Subramaniam and sung by Kavitha. Swedish and Polish artistes, French orchestras and junior Subramaniams (Seetha, Ambi and Narayana Raju) are others making more melody in the 15-city musical.RANJANI GOVIND



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