Touchy Notes

Temples, music & concerts

It takes quite an effort to give a theme-based Carnatic vocal concert. Ask Dr. Vijayalakshmy Subramaniam. She will vouch for it. Indeed, she has set a record of sort in this niche field. Kshetra Sangeetham, a concept conceived by her, has seen 15 episodes so far. This unique musical journey commenced in January 2010, and has covered 15 kshetrams till now. A talented vocalist, Dr. Vijayalakshmy hasn’t been accorded her due. That hasn’t deterred her from religiously pursing her vision, however.

15 kshetrams

The Kshetra Sangeetham series has so far covered towns such as Kanchipuram, Chidambaram, Srirangam, Madurai, Tiruvarur, Chennai, Sringeri, Tiruvaiyaru, Tirupati, Tiruchendur , Guruvayoor,Vaitheeswaran Koil, Swamimalai, Thanjavore and Tiruttani.

A trip down memory lane

The Kshetra Sangeetham series, according to her, is designed to take the listeners to a trip down memory lane to bygone times. Through music, she leads them to a tour of assorted kshetrams. In a way, this particular thematic concert series is twice blessed. It blesses the performer. ``Giving a thematic concert on specific kshetram brings so much energy and fantastic feeling,’’ she says. It also blesses the listeners. Depending upon who the listener is – such concerts on khetrams help some acquire new knowledge, and still others gain spiritual elevation. According to her, ``there is a gold mine of literary, musical and historical information about these Kshetras’’ And, `Kshetra sangeetham’ is a journey towards researching and presenting the musical aspects of these temple towns through a series of lectures-cum-concerts. Each episode focuses on a specifics temple town.


Ideated by Dr. Vijayalakshmy, the series is organised by Narada Gana Sabha. Each episode comprises a talk by a scholar, historian or academician highlighting several interesting facts about the temple town, its uniqueness, the composers who have sung in praise of the Kshetra, and other aspects of musical significance. This talk is usually followed by a vocal concert by Dr. Vijayalakshmy, focussing on compositions and devotional hymns relevant to the specific kshetra.

A tough job

It is easier said than done, however. Lot of effort goes into selecting a Kshetra for elaboration, exploring compositions of assorted composers (of pre-Trinity, Trinity, and post-Trinity periods), presenting them in a typical concert format, covering a range of composers and languages, and discovering the beautiful hymns and sacred texts that have been composed on the temple town. To a query, she says, "`the focus of the audience is not on the religion alone.’’ The kshetra sangeetham series also focuses on the melody of the concert, she elaborates. ``People tend to become curious about such thematic programmes. One has to do high quality research to present such concerts,’’ she points out.

The Kshetra Sanageetham series has brought to fore the multi-dimensional artiste in Dr. Vijayalakshmy. Sincerity of purpose, devotion to the job, and a professional approach define Dr. Vijayalakshmy’s work in this highly laudable effort.

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Printable version | Jul 28, 2021 12:53:48 PM |

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