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Deepika Varadharajan's concert at Lakshmi temple leaves rasikas in Ashland with a positive feeling
BOSTON, August 7: With the influence of movie songs and the western pop culture attracting many from the current generation in India, one often wonders what would be the future of Carnatic music and other traditional arts that are so unique to India. But after listening to the 2-hour Carnatic vocal concert on August 3rd by 19-year-old Ms. Deepika Varadharajan, who is a disciple of Smt. Sudha Raghunathan and is visiting the U.S. on a United States Government-sponsored fusion exchange programme to the Northeastern University in Boston, on a rainy Sunday afternoon at the Sri Lakshmi Temple in Ashland, Massachusetts, one can feel at ease that they are indestructible and will get only stronger with time.

This concert was sponsored by the Sri Lakshmi Temple as part of the Andal festival that was celebrated from July 27th through August 4th. Deepika started the concert with the famous daru varnam, Mathe Malayadwaja, in Kamas by Sri Harikesanallur Muthiah Bhavathar and followed it up with the traditional rendition of Vathapi ganapathim in Hamsadwani. She then sang the Alwar pasuram Pallandu in Nattai to suit the occasion.

This was followed by a short and sweet alapana in Suddha Danyasi with the kriti Sri Parthasarathy along with crisp kalpana swaras.. The main piece of the afternoon was Mahalakshmi Jagan Mata in Sankarabharanam and it was sung with an elaborate raga alapana and kalpana swaras and was followed by thani avarthanam. After singing Andal Thiruppavai, Ongi Ulagalandha, in Arabhi, she went on to sing a few popular items such as Harismarane in Yamuna Kalyani, the ragamalika Kurai Onrum Illai and others.

Boston's very own Suhas Rao accompanied Deepika on the violin and matched her note per note with his quick responses and his brother, 14-year-old Ullas Rao accompanied on the mridangam. Ullas was adequate enough that afternoon and showed signs that with more experience he will soon become a great mridangam artist.

The temple also had the deity taken on a procession around the temple each day during the festival with local children singing Andal and Alwar pasurams.