Maestro and a prodigy on music and veena

Sandhya Soman

CHENNAI: `Veena maestro' V. Raghurama Ayyar is 77. Veena R. Sriram is 15. The maestro is all enthusiastic when he talks about the soothing effects of the veena. Sriram is all cool and collected after a masterly performance before more than half-a-dozen veena vidwans, all participants at the recently held `The National Festival of Veena.'

Vidwans mingled with up-and-coming artists and rasikas and discussed music and veena at an informal get-together at New Woodlands on Thursday last.

"I organised the festival so the young and old would come together and learn from each other," said Raghurama Ayyar, founder of the Veena Foundation and former principal information officer with the Central Government.

He paused to listen to Sriram's concert and discerned the "aural image" created by the youngster. "He renders Hindolam with imagination. It leaves you calm. I was not able to do that at his age."

Mr. Ayyar, an information services professional, whose passion for music grew since in his late twenties, says "Journalism gave me confidence. But my passion has always been music." He has performed world over from Vatican to San Francisco.

According to him, the instrument is a confluence of the musical and spiritual traditions of India.

PSSBB student Sriram was totally chilled out before and after playing the veena, despite the high profile audience.

"I attended the seminar. There I met Raghurama Ayyar who asked me to perform this evening," said this class X student, who gracefully accepted the compliments and good wishes from vidwans after his performance.

What did he learn?

"Oh! I got to listen to so many different styles at the festival," said Sriram, charmingly twirling his shawl.

Yes. It does perturb him that not all his classmates listen to him.

"But there are other people. They compensate," added Sriram.

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