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Music, Academy & The Hindu
CHENNAI, October 10: Music, Academy and The Hindu, make for a happy mix. For many in this part of the country, these three are venerable. When they combine, what one gets is an elevated experience.
The Hindu, a highly respected English daily published from Chennai, has been playing an important part in promoting the cause of Carnatic music for years. For many summers now, it has also been promoting cross-cultural musical extravaganzas under the banner "The Hindu Friday Review November Fest". This November Fest has since gone national.

In a way, The Hindu has been a trend-setter in this sphere. We are now seeing many media institutions step in to host Carnatic music events in Chennai. The Hindu, however, sprang a surprise on the traditional Carnatic music buff this time around by holding a one-off Navavarana Mahotsavam at the famed The Music Academy on October 4.

Close to a dozen talented young artistes were on show that evening, paying tribute to 18th century composers Oottukadu Venkata Kavi and Muthuswami Dikshitar. They presented kritis of these two great composers, specially created for Navaratri. Each one rendered a set of two compositions that correspond to each day of Navaratri. Venkata Kavi and Muthuswami Dikshitar were no ordinary composers. Rendering their compositions required high degree of multiple skills. A slight mis-pronounciation could alter the very meaning. They are delicate in terms of language, diction et al.

The event was was refreshing in many ways. Two things are noteworth of this Navavarana Mahotsavam. For one, the very move to hold a Mahotsavam of this sort on specific kritis of these two great composers must be lauded. For another, the response was quite unexpected. The young artistes on show that evening demonstrated a great sense of dedication, dicipline and application (even though each one sang just a couple of kritis). The full-house audience of assorted class, cutting across age groups, came as a pleasant surprise. The audience was mature, and appreciative of the sincerity of the efforts put in by the young artistes on stage. The Academy stage, perhaps, had brought the best in both the artistes and the audience.

Lovely evening
Talented Anahita-Apoorva duo was impressive for the ease with which they delivered their twin compositions. A vibrant Sriranjani Santhanagopalan was classy, as she revealed her rich voice. A no-nonsense Kunnakudi Balamuralikrishna and a dedicated Nisha Rajagopalan given the audience newer options to plan their December calander. Trichur Brothers were lively, as they packed their wares skillfully inside the chosen kritis. Sikkil Gurucharan, Dharini Kalyanaraman, K. Gayatri, Amritha Murali,Sumithra Vasudev and Akkarai Subhalakshmi & Sornalatha did their assigned jobs to perfection. In the end, it turned out to be such a lovely evening.

Navavarana kritis are unalloyed, and rooted in tradition. It is indeed refrshing to see these young artistes take an essentially difficulutly assignment seriously and deliver it neatly and skillfully.

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