Raam’s SAMYO Diary

April 2013

Each month, SAMYO member Raam Jaganathan will be sending us a SAMYO DIARY, and stories of his experiences in music.

In this second update, Raam tells us all about his experiences at the SAMYO10 concert. 

SAMYO DIARY

Final Rehearsals: 9th and 10th March

Following the percussion ensemble’s rehearsal on the 3rd March to work on their piece HEX, the full orchestra met for a final time on the 9th and 10th March with our 5 conductors: Gauravji, Ranajitji, Girishh, Kousicji and Prathapji.
Saturday started off with Associate Conductor Girishh taking rehearsals on the pieces he has arranged or composed. We worked on Caribbean Escape, Lalgudi Medley, Panditji and Sunshine, the first 4 songs of our repertoire. The NYJC then joined us for a couple of hours with their Artistic Director Issie Barratt and we worked on our collaboration – “SAMSARA”. It sounded so much better than the previous rehearsal!
The tiring day finished with a run through of the entire first half of the SAMYO10 Concert. The next day we worked with our beloved Ranajitji, who worked with a few individuals on solos and harmonised parts before going through his pieces. Unfortunately we had forgotten some of our parts in Lullaby and Homage, but after several practices of the same piece and some reminding (more like scolding) from our orchestra leader, we remembered them all again! We practised the remaining pieces and ended the weekend with a run through of the second half, some disastrous stage-entries and exits,  and arguing over the dress code for the concert!
All we were looking forward to now was the concert…

SAMYO10: 16th March

Finally the day had arrived, I was certainly buzzing! We met at the QEH at 11am (well most of us did).
While the stage was being set up for the sound check, we had the pleasure of listening to a mini concert in the QEH stalls by Praveen (Flute), Sugen (Mridangam) and Mithushan (Ghatam). After that, we headed onto stage to sound check individually before rehearsing as an entire orchestra.
The overall house mix (what the audience hear) was amazing! After a delicious lunch, the NYJC practised with us. The session seemed horrendous, we (SAMYO) couldn’t hear ourselves at all! After a demotivating practise, we just hoped for the best. However the sound check ended on a cliffhanger, we had asked for our onstage mixers to have the volume increased for the vocals and flutes…but we didn’t have the chance to practise with the new setting….
Nevertheless we got ready and headed onto stage. It was a packed hall, almost sold out! The first half started with a bang…Caribbean Escape was great whilst one of the orchestra’s most  loved pieces, Lalgudi Medley sounded soothing in the acoustics of the Hall.
However the star performance of the first half was the orchestra’s favourite piece, Girish’s Sunshine. The song sounded better than the recording! We also saw our new CD “TEN” launched by Editor in Chief of the Asian Voice CB Patel, and the documentary film “A SAMYO STORY” by Nehru Centre Director Sangeeta Bahadur.  After performing a very very successful SAMSARA with NYJC (despite the dreadful sound check) and watching the short version of the SAMYO10 documentary, the first half had ended.
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Asian Voice Editor CB Patel launches the new CD “TEN”. with Nehru Centre Director Sangeeta Bahadur. 

The second half began with an interesting video about Homage, showing audiences how a SAMYO composition is born and created (including a comic version of the tune by Sanjay and Saju). All of Ranjaitji’s pieces went really well, they sounded amazing and reflected the amount of work we all had put in, especially on MUSIC INDIA 2012 and during the recording. We then listened to HEX by the percussion which began with a stunning  battle between the percussionists on the Konnakol (voice). The piece was a massive success, considering the standard of the piece during the practices in Ilford. The concert ended on a high with Mali, a folk piece composed by Shashankji. The adaptation of the Kavadi Sindhu (Tamil Nadu folk piece), was loved especially by my family. I certainly enjoyed the song whilst playing it and found it an excellent ending to the concert. And with that a year of hard work had paid off, the concert had finished!
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Intensity during the SAMYO10 performance, with Mohan and Tharani behind me. We were enjoying ourselves, honestly! 

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Lisa (Milapfest Marketing Officer) and Jane (Director of “A SAMYO STORY”) at post-concert interviews with me and Tharani

The orchestra leaders and members all received  massive applause at the end. Following an enjoyable photo shoot and ‘on the spot’ interviews, the day ended. I had enjoyed the last year as a new member, and I am certainly looking forward to the years ahead!

Check Milapfest’s Twitter, Facebook and Flickr pages for photos!

HAVE YOU HEARD:

This month I have decided to share an example of how Hindustani Music has influenced Carnatic Music. There are so many Carnatic songs written in Hindustani Ragas. Examples include Lalgudi Jayaraman’s Mand and Bageshri Thillanas, Adamodi Galade in Charukesi and Jagadhodharana in Hindustani Kapi.
However I’m sharing a Ragam Thanam Pallavi (RTP) in Bageshri. The RTP is the most important concept in Carnatic music. It is the main piece in any concert. For any artist, or student, it takes time to master. The RTP includes Alaap, Thanam (like a Jaala), The Pallavi (a line which is rendered in different speeds and usually in praise of the Lord), Niraval (Alaap within the line/song limited to a beat) and Kalpana Swaras (similar to Thaans).
In this video –
Vocal: Sanjay Subramaniam
A unique vocalist with an amazing voice. Easily my favourite vocalist at the moment. 
Violin: S.Varadarajan
A wonderful violinist who accompanies Sanjay Subramniam and several other leading artistes. 
Mridangam: Neyveli Venkatesh
One of Carnatic Music’s current leading Mridangam artistes.He is an All India Radio ‘A’ grade artist, accompanying Carnatic Music’s top names not only on Mridangam but on Kanjira as well.
Here’s the link
I hope you enjoy the video!
See you next month with more on SAMYO’s SPRING EDITION of MUSIC INDIA, our plans for the Summer and a new ‘HAVE YOU HEARD’!
Raam Jeganathan has been a SAMYO member since April 2012, when he joined in our national auditions. He quickly became an integral part of the team, performing in the Alchemy Festival in April last year, and in SAMYO Too concerts throughout the year. Look out for the mini film about Raam in our series of documentaries to mark the anniversary. Hear Raam play Veena at SAMYO concerts around the country!

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