Raam’s Samyo Diary
Music India Diary
Day 1: Friday 26th July
After meeting up at our Wembley and Ilford pick-up points with both old and new members, and our Conductor Gaurav Mazumdar (Gauravji) the orchestra left for Liverpool. The journey was very long as we got lost a few times, and it seemed like the orchestra wasn’t excited, with a lot of people sleeping. A huge surprise was the presence of the living legend, Lalgudi GJR Krishnan (Krishnanji)! After a 6-7 hour trip we soon arrived at the campus, greeted by the Milapfest team and our beloved Ranajitji (Ranajit Sengupta, the Sarod Maestro). We then had dinner, went to our rooms and had a meeting about the structure of the week so we knew what was going on. The atmosphere was already incredible.
Day 2: Saturday 27th July
The opening ceremony started the first day for both schools. The ceremony featured the introduction of all the Gurus and some wonderful performances by Tarang vocalists Yarlinie and Kobini, Samyo flautist Jessica and Odissi dancer Elena Catalano. In the Music India school, we split up into our instruments and disciplines, the Violins and Veenas with Krishnanji, the vocals with Nishaji (Nisha Rajagopal), the flutes with Rakeshji (Rakesh Chaurasia), the Mridangams with Prathapji and Tablas with Shabhazji (Shabhaz Hussain). As Carnatic students with Krishnanji, we did some exercises on improvisation with the Thala in different Ragas. After lunch we met up in our orchestras and Samyo worked with Anilji (Anil Srinivasan). We started work on a new piece, ‘Lullaby.’ After a lecture demonstration by Leelaji (Leela Samson) with Rakeshji and Anilji, we then watched a stunning concert which featured a sublime collaboration by Rakesh Chaurasia, Anil Srinivasan and Shahbaz Husain. The concert had some amazing moments, but by far the most touching was the final piece which was played blindfolded as a tribute to World Peace. I was honestly about to cry! We then watched a superb Odissi performance bySujata Mohapatra.
Day 3: Sunday 28th July
The structure of the day was the same as the day before. We had our team competition announced with each team led by at least 1 Tarang member and a Guru from the list of Tutors. Despite much arguing, we managed to be satisfied with our teams. After our morning and afternoon sessions, we had a lecture on how Music works with Dance. In the evening we were treated to a wonderful evening of music and dance from the South. Firstly, Nisha Rajagopal performed a selection of beautiful songs, accompanied by AGA Gnanasundaram and Somasundara Desigar. Her Alaap in Arabhi was wonderful, as was her Korvai (Tihai) in Simendhra Madhyamam. The second half of the concert was a Bharathanatyam duet by Priyadarshini Govind and Ananja Anand. Both dancers choreographed uniquely to a set of amazing songs, which was massively appreciated by the audience.
Day 4: Monday 29th July
Following our normal sessions which included a lecture on improvisation, we watched a lecture by Akilaji showing her dance drama which features Priyadarshini Govind, Nisha Rajagopal and Anjana Anand. The evening performance then showcased what I though was the best music concert of the entire week, Raag Aboghi by Ranajitji with Shabhazji on Tabla. The concert was stunning. The speed of the Jhalla and the intricate Thaans left me speechless. This was then followed by a Kathak performance by Sanjuktaji which definitely sparked my interest in the dance form!
Day 5: Tuesday 30th July
The Lecture Demonstration on Tuesday was incredibly special. The session was by Lalgudi GJR Krishnan, accompanied by Prathapji, Achuthan (Tarang violin), Yarlinie and Kobini (Tarang vocalists). We were fortunate enough to hear the renditions of many compositions by the late Lalgudi G Jayaraman, and with some short performances to them by Leela Samson, Priyadarshini Govind and Anjana Anand. In addition, we were present at the launch of the biography of the legendary violinist which included a CD of some of his famous compositions. In the evening we witnesses the first ever Sangeeth Ratna Awards in which some of Britain’s top musical talent went ahead against each other on Vocal, Violin, Tabla, Flute and Kanjira. The jury consisted of Krishnanji, Ranajitji and Rakeshji. However it was one of the HIndustani Vocalists, Angira Kotal who won the prize. The runner up award went to Samyo member Praveen Prathapan, whose Ragam Thanam Pallavi in Chakravaham was wonderful, especially the Ragamalika Kalpana Swaras. Her voice and Sruthi were faultless. After, we celebrated Tarang leader, Raheel Husain’s birthday with the artists as we shared a massive, tasty cake!
Day 6: Wednesday 31st July
After a good Lecture Demonstration once again by Rakeshji, we then watched the first ever Nritya Ratna awards which had some fierce competition. The evening featured performances from dancers of Bharathanatyam and Kathak with first place going to a student of Priyadarshini Govind, Apoorva Jayaraman. Her Abhinaya was clearly mastered. Many of the musicians enjoyed the evening. The judges were Leelaji, Prashantji (Prashant Shah) and Sujataji.
Day 7: Thursday 1st August
Following a a day of 3 sessions, we enjoyed an evening of Hindustani Music. The first half was performed by our very own Gauravji with Shabhazji which featured a fantastic Alaap which was most of the concert! The second half was a unique Kathak repertoire performed by Prashantji which included a Meera Bhajan in praise of Lord Krishna and a contemporary piece about New York. I was shocked by the contrasting styles of the pieces, with the dance leaving me amazed.
Day 8: Friday 2nd August
The Lecture Demonstrations consisted of workshops on various skills such as rhythm, improvisation and blog writing. I took part in the improvisation workshop with Anil Srinivasan and Anjana Anand despite the fact I write blogs for Samyo! The session featured improvisation through story creating and rhythm exercises. The evening then consisted of 2 living legends. The first half was an hour concert by Lalgudi GJR Krishnan with Bangalore Prakash on Mridangam and Bangalore Prathap on Ghatam. The concert included a Varnam, Needhaya Radha, a Ragam Thanam Pallavi in Shanmukapriya often rendered by Jayaramanji himself, Bageshri and Hamsanandi Thillanas. The second half was an hour slot by Leelaji. I was left spellbound by her performance. She did not look like herself on stage and her performance did not reflect her age at all! Afterwards, we held the group competition. All the groups performed their pieces as different productions, including unique themes. My group which consisted of Raheel, Gurleen, Achuthan, Bhavana, Amarithpal, myself and Ranajitji as our Mentor came 3rd. Jasdeep’s team came first deservedly with an incredible performance in Aboghi.
Last Day: Saturday 3rd August
The final day consisted of the closing ceremony which featured performances by all groups from Music and Dance India. The Music India awards were announced with Rishii winning a music award, Jainee winning a merit award and Gobi, Sanjay, Naviena and myself winning leadership awards. After photos and packing up, we headed back to London on a quiet coach trip.
It was an amazing week and I honestly can’t wait for next year!
HAVE YOU HEARD will be updated shortly with some video footage of an Indika Festival event.
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 all of our performances in the anniversary season. In August 2013, Raam was appointed as the new Orchestra Leader. Watch the film on Raam’s Samyo Story here.