Saturday, January 23, 2021

A virtual treat in Adelaide

Shruthi Adelaide's customary winter event moves online.

Reading Time: 3 minutes

‘Never say never’ seems to be the spirit of Shruthi, Adelaide’s carnatic music lovers’ group. With COVID-19 restrictions on social gatherings limiting cultural events, Shruthi Adelaide decided to continue with their customary winter event with a virtual treat. They hit upon the idea of presenting the programme online, streaming from the homes of performers in three different countries. (Maybe a first for Indian cultural organisations in Australia.)

On the afternoon of 12 July, Shruthi brought on ‘stage’ 16 artistes for a four- and half-hour cultural bonanza. They comprised singers, dancers and instrumentalists both local and overseas. Perhaps the most amazing aspect of the evening, too, was the effortless switching between locales in different parts of the globe, operating with clockwork precision.

Shruthi Adelaide’s event is available to watch on Youtube.
- Advertisement -

The event started with the traditional invocation song by Anagha Madhu accompanied by Gopi on mridangam. This was followed by Taruni and Lekha and a violin duet by Jaya and Madhu Iyengar.

Then, we were transported to Chennai where Sikkil Gurucharan, a top-line vocalist, sang three popular Tamil compositions in ‘anthakshari’ mode, a novelty in classical music. He was generous with his time to sing two more songs requested by the online audience. Even without the traditional accompaniments like violin and mridangam, his golden voice was heard in its purest form.

sikkil gurucharan
Sikkil Gurucharan joined the celebration from Chennai.

The scene switched to the Adelaide home of Abhiram and Sangeetha Venkitt who performed two dance numbers in Kathakali and Mohiniattam. With so much movement, it can be difficult to stay in the camera’s focus, especially without a professional crew. Still, the dancers overcame such handicaps. Decorating their lounge as dance floor, their performance was commendable.

Next, we were ‘flown’ to Singapore to be blown away by Bharatnatyam exponent Mohanapriyan Thavarajah. She enthralled us by performing three episodes in thandava, the masculine dance form attributed to Lord Shiva.

Back in Adelaide, Somi Lindsay of Apsara Arts danced to the lyrics of Sri chakra raja in ragamalika in her garage, with the roller door improvised as a backdrop. This was followed by another bharatnatyam piece by Roshini Chrispa Christy, dancing to the lilting tune of kavadi chindu, a popular folk song.

somi lindsay shruthi adelaide
Adelaide’s Somi Lindsay danced to the lyrics of Sri chakra raja in ragamalika.

Shruthi, a platform for carnatic music, extended its cultural reach to Hindustani music with retired professor Punendra Jain’s flute recital, proving that age is no barrier to follow one’s passion. Young Mayuresh Kulkarni delighted online viewers with his vocal rendering of raag maru bihag, predicating a star is in the making.

Sangeetha Ramkumar played the veena accompanied by Gopi on mridangam, showing that she could strum the strings with ease even after long break from the instrument.

sangeetha ramkumar veena
Adelaide’s Sangeetha Ramkumar performed the jagadodharana ragam on the veena.

The evening concluded with a stellar music performance by sisters, Aishwarya and Saundarya who are the great granddaughters of M.S. Subbalakshmi, the uncrowned queen of carnatic music. Although they had their own style of singing, there were flashes of MS style, giving us a nostalgic delight. What a way to lift our spirits in the midst of all the woes from the virus!

carnatic singers shruthi adelaide
Talented sisters Aishwarya and Saundarya are the great granddaughters of the legendary M.S. Subbalakshmi.

Shruthi Adelaide and its president Narayana Rai are to be commended for this bold experiment. Treasurer Srirama Srinivasan deserves great credit for roping in some top-notch artistes from overseas alongside home-grown talents. A programme of this kind, seamlessly switching between a dozen locations, needs some special skills and Rajesh Lakshmikanthan did a wonderful job.

A virtual version of cultural events of this genre may not match the real-life experience, but the efforts that have gone into it deserve kudos. In fact, the webcast has already watched by over 1700 people in Australia and overseas.

READ ALSO: Thyagaraja biopic is show stealer at Shruthi Adelaide event

- Advertisement -

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


Ep8: Indian links in Indigenous Australian poet Ali Cobby Eckermann’s life

To celebrate NAIDOC week 2020 (between 8-15 November) I spoke to Yakunytjatjara poet Ali Cobby Eckermann about her time in India where she taught...

Ep 7: In the case of Sushant Singh Rajput

  The torrid and high-octane Sushant Singh Rajput case has been fodder for Indian people and press for the last few months. The actor’s tragic...

Ep 6: The Indian LGBTQ+ community in 2020

  It’s been two years since the world’s largest democracy repealed the draconian Section 377 which used to allow discrimination against homosexual people. Only this...

Latest News

lilly singh

WATCH: Lilly Singh as Sima Taparia in “Indian Matchbreaking”

  Whether we liked it or not, most of us gave into the Sima Taparia craze during lockdown. Within days, we'd all binged on Netflix's...
karl rock

From New Zealand to New Delhi: Meet YouTube’s Karl Rock

  When Karl Rock picks up the phone (with a cheerful ‘Namaste!’ no less), his New Zealand accent is apparent. That is, until he bursts...
Buddhist Kung Fu nuns kicking hard at centuries-old taboos

India’s Buddhist Kung Fu nuns

  They are the Buddhist Kung Fu nuns of Drukpa lineage, known globally for trekking across the Himalayas to pick up trash, paddling through mountain...
jhansi strawberries

Strawberries to write a new chapter of development in Jhansi

  Jhansi which is well-known as the land of valour is all set to write a new chapter and strawberry cultivation would play a pivotal...

WATCH: Aussies try to guess Indian slang

  Many new migrants have had to quickly learn the local lingo upon arriving in Australia, picking up the ie's and the o's as part...