Hello everyone, Hope you have all had a good 2016. Thanksgiving has just passed- I have much to be thankful for! Outside the rain falls on the grass and the air gets colder reminding me of winter in Minnesota and my upcoming journey to warmer climes. This year has seen so much already -with 'Maithree' my new CD getting more shape and form at Wild Sound Studios with the addition of friends of the veena - mridangam, ghatam, cello, clarinet, saxaphone, oud, guitar,djembe, bongos and more. Being part of friend Siama Matuzungidi's 'Rivers' and then getting to create my first album of collaboration 'Maithree -the Music of Friendship ' in early summer; travelling to Chennai to perform at Thanjavur Upendran Mama's Remembrance day event; visiting Chidambaram and fulfilling a lifelong dream of visiting the Cosmic Dancer Natraja in His Special Abode there, teaching at the haloed campus of the Tamil Nadu Fine arts University where my own gurus had served for many years (my Gratitude to Vice Chancellor Smt.E.Gayathri); performing in Mysore after many years in two special concerts with wonderful co-artists, celebrating Sri Raghavendra Swamy Aradhana in Chennai and Hanumanthapuram again in the company of fantastic co-artists, having an special concert at Sacred Seven Hills Tirumala Nada Neerajanam supported by another team of top notch performers ; Returning to the US and presenting 'Song of Wonder' with collaborator David Harris at two special concerts including at the historic Sheldon Theater Red Wing; a special concert with Vidwan Thanjavur Murugaboopathi and Vidwan Ghatam Karthick at Winona State University and University of Wisconsin River Falls; presenting another avatar of Maithree at Stevens Point Wisconsin for the festival of India annual event. It has been a busy and fulfilling year and I look ahead to spending December and January in India performing at the Winter music Festival there taking in the sights and sounds of it all with my daughter Shruthi (who will join me from England) along with my parents,sister and family. I look forward to seeing many of you on this leg of the trip and wish you all a wonderful healthy joyful Holiday Season ahead! Take care!
Thank you to all of you for your love and affection , for letting me know that you are with me on my journey via this blog. December , January and the first 10 days in February were spent in Chennai--It been been quite the experience. I never expected to be part of the relief efforts in such an involved manner. I believe my being in Chennai for this duration was definitely for many other reasons in addition to participating in the Season -personal and professional. Once again I am grateful to Him. Back in the USA the year has begun with a short tour and concerts at the Laurie Porter concert series in Carleton College Northfield MN, Otterbein University and Dhvani Columbus Ohio and the Hindu Temple in Dayton Ohio with the the wonderful team of Shri VVS Murari, Shri Thanjavur Murugaboopathi and Shri Ravi Balasubramanyam in February and early march. Song of Wonder (with David Harris, Boopathi Anna, young Naadha Rasa performers Sowmya Murthy and Priya and the Voices of Sepharad ensemble) continued its run with performances at Concordia Moorhead University and the Rochester Civic Theater-- Come November this show will be presented at the historic Sheldon Theater in Red Wing MN. March end took me to this years Aradhana at Cleveland State University. I never cease to wonder at the energy of the amazing people who have put their hearts and passions into running this awesome 10 day event year after year.. now for 39 years. It was an honor to perform as part of this event in the company of esteemed artists Shri Raghavendra Rao, Thanjavur Murugaboopathi and Shri Guruprasad in the presence of some of the finest practitioners and followers of this glorious art. Princeton University's Swara inaugurated its performing season with the a Jugal Bandhi concert with Pandit Ronu Majumdar on the bansuri and yours truly on the veena with Vidwan Thanjavur Murugaboopathi and Shri Samir Chatterjee. It was wonderful evening resonating with sounds of the beautiful Indian instruments in the haloed campus of this great University- Happy to be part of this...Arriving back in Minneapolis thanks to planes and delays went straight from the airport to the gorgeous Basilica of St.Mary the venue of MCTC's Spirit and Soul event. What a gratifying feeling to be in the Church built inn 1871 where the entire atmosphere is reminiscent of ancient times. Coming up in April and May performances in Dallas TX, Green Bay WI and (Maithree a new collaboration) SV Temple Edina MN, a new album in the making....Stay tuned! Stay healthy! Stay happy! Take care
8 months since the last time I wrote here. First time for many things..First time reporting from Chennai First experience of a deluge here in the city of my birth. -- in awe at Nature and her immense capacity to bring the unexpected..
Rewinding back to summer 2015..Intense workshops, travel to India for the national program of music and Sangeet Samraat in Bangalore and Chennai..into Fall 2015 .Sounds of the Ancient tour with the wonderful Bansuri wizard Pandit RonuMajumdar with Mridangam master Shri Thanjavur Murugaboopathi and Shri Ajeet Pathak from Bombay on Tabla. A lovely experience. Thank you hosting organizations' hosts and the wonderful artists who were with me ...all brought together for my first tour with Minnesota's own Layyasaaram Institute for the Arts. Sangeet Samraat in Minnesota, Song of Wonder MSAB Arts Tour with David Harris and Voices of Sepherad in St.Peter and Northfield, Summer Rain with Zeitgeist in Grand Marais and Duluth..November also saw Sublime Journey sitar/veena concert to Bahrain and Carnatica's Bharat Sangeet Utsav in Coimbatore, a solo in Dubai. Beginning the season with Parivaadhini and LayaMadhura..before the deluge descended in a big way..Humbling experience being involved in relief efforts in Chennai..Hailing the Spirit of the artist and organizations who are continuing with the music Season with a few schedule adjustments. feeling blessed to have music be part of my life. Chennaites prayers for you all ---Take care !!!
Spring time again--Time to enjoy the blessing of good weather and new beginnings. The past few months have seen a trip South Dakota and the National Music Museum in February -A thrilling and unique experience to be among some of the most ancient instruments and traditions of the world-- one to cherish always. Concerts in town at the Hosmer Library, classes and workshops, new work creation ---all in all a whirlwind of blessings and music. Onto a new work May 2 Maithree music of friendship --a first ever production, a good amount of travel to Rochester May 6 ,May 9 and then the East Coast May 21 to June 6. Performance at Camp Masala, Summer workshops more travel on the cards..Stay healthy and happy you all --So long until the next time :)
Its been six months since my last post and I am surprised ..again!!Where has the time gone ? Looking back -from a trip to India to Kumbakonam in the intense heat of the summer months of July and August for performances at the Wallajahpet Venkatramana Bhagavadhar Festival,recording for television channel 'Podigai', performing in 'Serene' Coimbatore, a trip up the Blue Mountains 'Nilgiris' with my children Neeraj and Shruthi and my parents to the picturesque Coonoor and Ooty; visiting my dear guru Sri Sitarama Sarma Sir-- Shruthi studying with him --all bringing back memories of my own classes with him feeling excited and then all at once realizing that for sure time has flown by :) Wow! to admiring Subramanya Bharathi at Winona State University in September , to Navarathri and the celebrating of Sri Saraswathi, performing back to back performances at the Vedanta Society in Kansas and the Hindu Temple there in October, to moving onto an entirely new genre of music in November with our expressions in 'Summer Rain' with the wonderful musicians of Zeitgeist and the fantastic Shri Thanjavur Murugaboopathi from India, the Song of Wonder concert with David Harris and the Voices of Sepharad and wrapping up the month with presentations of' Melodies and Rhythms - the Art of Improvisation in Carnatic Music ' at St Cloud Minnesota and Minnetonka Minnesota supported by the Minnesota State Arts Board's FATA. Now bags packed and ready to travel to the world famous Music Festival in Chennai, India. Happy Holidays ! Enjoy the season all its colors and this lovely world we live in. My best wishes always - Until the next time take care-
I cannot believe that two whole seasons have passed since my last update here. Life has been filled with the many splendors of music all through this time. After concerts in Bangalore and Chennai in December and January, wonder in music became a mantra for me as I explored the many facets of it with colleague and vocalist David Harris in the new creation 'Song of Wonder' which premiered in April 2014. I am delighted that we will be able to bring 'Song of Wonder' to various cities and venues over the course of this year and the next. April also saw the Carnatic Star Festival in which I had the good fortune of performing in the presence of legend Dr Balamurali Krishna. It was an evening to cherish as I sat on stage after my performance watching the Maestro sing his concert. The month of May brought another memorable event - the visit of the great Vidwan Padma Bhushan Sangeeta Kalanidhi Shri TV Shankaranayaran to our school the Naadha Rasa Center for Music. My journey continues from the wonder Mantra to the Mantrapushpam from the Taithreeya Aranyakam (1.22) of Yajur Veda. My veena students, and I, will play this most famous Veda mantra to the chanting of the priests at the Hindu Society of Minnesota at the eighth Anniversary celebrations of the Hindu Society of Minnesota on June 7. July and August will bring me to Chennai, Kumbakonam and Coimbatore. I eagerly await the Wallajpet Venkatramana Bhaghavadhar celebrations in Kumbakonan in July. So long until the next time -take care. May your lives be filled with music in all her glory.
It has been a mixed bag these past few months- Returning after the tour of Australia and Singapore organized by Swara Laya Fine Arts Sydney and meeting some wonderful people in that part of the world was most rewarding. International world melody day veena day went off well celebrated by Naadha Rasa -I remember with gratitude and affection my vocal Guru Shri TRS who was part of my life -WHOSE PASSION WILL REMAIN WITH US FOR EVER. His visit to Minnesota in 2004 is an evergreen memory. Aradhana the 18th year event , Diwali at the Plymouth Library and Shruthi and Carnatic Idol season 3 semis and finals in Chicago were all part of these past weeks of musical activity. 'Sangam' a first time collaboration involving 22 musicians Cartnatic and western classical comes together on November 22 followed by the Namaste Slaiche concert. Nov 24 brings us to a historical event -Swami Vivekandanda's visit 150 years ago to the First Unitarian Church on Mount Curve Minneapolis. I am happy to be involved with it all- December in India - looking forward to the International music festival with some of my American friends and students. Hope you can join us. Until the next time stay warm take care
Another summer -the last weeks of August definitely of the Indian variety ---is coming to a close. So much to share- so much to feel blessed about. The visits to Veenalayam, Toronto , Panchatantra workshops at Madison, Wisconsin and the veena and vocal workshops in California came close on the heels of the duet concert with veena/chitra veena, the Flint Hills International Festival and the great honor of performing for Dr.Abdul Kalam in his maiden visit to the State. Before the blink of an eye appeared the Dikshidar day celebrations, the intensive workshops for Naadharasa and the Krishna Akhandam celebration. The once-in-every-few-years performance at the Minnesota State Fair is now over and bags are being packed for the next tour - Sept 7 from Singapore onto to Perth Australia on Sept 8 then for the next few weeks in the great down under.When I began to study veena and Carnatic music at age 6 thanks to my loving parents --I never gave a thought of what it would lead to and what the path would be- I now reflect and share my humble 2 cents - Follow your heart and your dream always - be prepared to work as much as you can with passion and dedication -and above all have faith in the Universe ----As the clocks are reset in the fall season -recharge my friends and go on -and may His Blessings be with you all - Until the next time -Nirmala
The snow is on the ground though very soon we will hear the birds chirping and welcome the buds and the green grass! I cant believe that my last post was in September which seems like a long time back -- Winter was one fast whirlwind of activity. Season 2012 was quite a milestone with a concert at the Aradhana at Thapovanam of Swami Gnanananda, prime time concerts at Chennai Sabhas, a National program of Music concert for Indian Television Doordarshan National in the company of some the best known Indian musicians, it was an absolute treat to wrap up the visit to India with a residency at the American International School New Delhi. I feel very blessed and very glad to have made it through it all - Its only possible because of His Blessings and Grace. Now looking forward to the 'Melodies and Rhythms' project on a mission to take Carnatic music to wherever possible in Minnesota. First stop St.Cloud MN March 5. Am eagerly waiting the double visit to Ohio CCMA ,Columbus OH in early March and Cleveland Aradhana later in the month with a stop in San Diego on March 24. 'Butterfly' travels to St Johns this month and April brings a trip to Houston Texas for the Spring Festival of the Classical Arts Society while it also is the month premiering the new exciting collaboration 'Embracing the Beloved' watch this space for more on this new work :) As always Upcoming Events page has more details -Take care everyone -Until next time -Nirmala
Fall colors in the air -- much to celebrate. A visit to Alabama for a concert, Shruthi Rajasekar's vocal Arangetram on September 1, the Sublime Journey that continued in Houston TX, an International Music series concert in Winona State and the Namaste/ Slainte! collaborative concert have all been wonderful settings to share and explore once again in the universal language of music. It was great to see so many of you these past weeks. Raj and I are especially grateful to Him for giving us such a wonderful community of family and friends who support and encourage us every step of our lives. Thank you ! Looking forward to celebrating International veena day/ Carnatic music day Oct 2 at the Golden valley Library -all of you are welcome time: 5-8 pm - and onto the holidays -Navarathri and Deepavali ---Take care -Nirmala