Staff Reporter

CHENNAI: ‘Veena Navrathri’, a series of concerts featuring the veena exclusively, concluded here on Wednesday.

Organised by the New Delhi-based Veena Foundation and the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, it featured about 18 concerts over the last nine days at different sabhas in the city.

Speaking at the plenary session, N. Murali, Managing Director of The Hindu and president of The Music Academy said that the ‘Veena Navrathri’ was an innovative event.

Commending the foundation’s secretary-general Raghurama Ayyar, he said, “He is a one-man army for the propagation of the veena in India. Such is his passion and enthusiasm.”

The veena has figured in ancient scriptures all through history till modern times, and this sets it apart from all other instruments, he added.

Referring to the dwindling number of listeners to veena recitals, Mr. Murali said this was not because there was a problem with the instrument’s inherent merit, but because the audience wanted something more.

He complimented the Veena Foundation and Mr. Raghurama Ayyar on his yeomen service in the “resurgence of the instrument.”

Narada Gana Sabha secretary R. Krishnaswamy assured the support of city sabhas in the endeavour. “The number of rasikas attending veena concerts fell after the time of artistes such as Balachandar and Chittibabu,” he noted. But, a few veena concerts held in December continued to attract crowds, he added.

Mr. Ayyar said the veena was as old as the Vedas. “It is a confluence of spiritual and artistic traditions of India,” he said, adding that he hoped to make the festival an annual feature.