Honours for Dr. RN Srilatha, Manasi Prasad at Karnataka Ganakala Parishat’s annual conference

The Ganakalabhushana and Ganakalashree awards will be presented at the Karnataka Ganakala Parishat conference this year

Updated - November 18, 2022 12:55 pm IST

Published - November 18, 2022 12:54 pm IST

Manasi Prasad

Manasi Prasad | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The ongoing Karnataka Ganakala Parishat’s (KGKP) annual music conference not only has concerts by leading artistes, lec-dems, docu-features and tribute sessions, but also an award function on the concluding day. Ganakalabhushana in the senior music category will be conferred on vocalist and professor of music, Dr. RN Srilatha from Mysore, while the Ganakalashree in the younger musicians category will be bestowed on vocalist and former Director of Indian Music Experience museum, Manasi Prasad of Bengaluru.

“Where Karnataka Ganakala Parishat differs from others institutions is that the committee comprises musicians and the annual awardees selected by music scholars,” says vocalist RK Padmanabha, who has been the institution’s President for the last 18 years. “The Parishat was born with the intention to promote the musicians of Karnataka.”

The Ganakala Parishat’s activities are not just restricted to the State capital, but reaches out to rural pockets in all districts and towns with performances, schooling and workshop activities, says Padmanabha. “We see to it that our efforts reach the common man. We have held free classical music concerts in Tumkur, Gadag, Bijapur, Belur, Nanjangud, Holenarsipur, Ramanathapura, and Mandya,” adds Padmanabha. 

Ganakalabhushana for RN Srilatha

RN Srilatha, the first woman from the erudite Rudrapatnam family to have pursued Carnatic classical music in an academic manner, is passionate about the theory of music. She has authored more than 10 books covering various aspects of music. She also released a four-volume textbook covering junior, senior and vidwat portions, and translated the 18th Century Sanskrit work, Sangeeta Saraamruta by Tulaja Maharaja into Kannada.

R.N. Srilatha

R.N. Srilatha | Photo Credit: SRIRAM MA

Srilatha was formerly principal of the University College of Fine Arts, Mysore. “Accepting the esteemed Ganakalabhushana Award from KGKP is an honour to the Rudrapatnam family which includes Harikatha exponents, Sanskrit scholars, Mysore’s royal court musicians and classical music performers,” says the fourth-generation vocalist who has mentored numerous music students and trained them for music examinations.

Guiding students and nurturing them to be concert ready is an art, she says. “Music teachers need to be aware of this as students have to be ushered into the classical field in a way that would equip them for the stage. Be it the style, voice culture or the concert packaging, many features need to be schooled in,” says Srilatha. 

One of her lec-dems during the event includes compositions that saint Tyagaraja created in rare ragas in Venkatamakhi’s 72 Melakarta system. “Out of the hundreds of ragas that Tyagaraja has created and presented, I have discovered 85 in my study. Chandrajyoti, Ragapanjara and Sruti Ranjani are a few that will be discussed,” she says.

Ganakalashree Award for Manasi Prasad

Carnatic vocalist Manasi Prasad has performed in six continents across the world on classical and fusion platforms. The Sangeet Natak Akademi awardee is a disciple of vidwan RK Padmanbha, and has received guidance from Dr. Sriram Parasuram in Chennai.

Manasi Prasad

Manasi Prasad | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

“I am humbled to be receiving the Ganakalashree from the Parishat. This is an organization of, by, and for musicians, and hence receiving this in the presence of senior musicians is special and a major part of this credit goes to my guru RK Padmanabha,” says Manasi.

Apart from her concert, Manasi would also be talking on the ‘World of Pallavis,’ elaborating on how one can choose to challenge oneself at various levels, both in the construction and rendition of the Pallavi. 

“I have been a practitioner of Avadhana Pallavi, which, in addition to all the aspects of raga, tala, sahitya and manodharma, requires a deep sense of multitasking and mindfulness, of being completely ‘in the moment’ and focused. It is my attempt in this lecture demonstration to present what I think are some of the more interesting pallavi forms, with some examples, most of which I have composed,” says Manasi.

(The Karnataka Ganakala Parishat Music Conference is on till November 20 at Pathi Auditorium, NR Colony Rama Mandira. For details log in to: https://www.kgkp.org )   

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