CHENNAI: There are many who have stopped lessons in carnatic music, after learning varnams and keerthanais. And, there are many who have attained proficiency in the genre of classical music and wish to fine tune their existing skills. Here’s a workshop catering to both categories. Four senior Chennai-based carnatic musicians, who have had experience in performing and teaching carnatic music, will be conducting the workshop.
Called the Sameeksha Retreat, the four-day workshop series will take place at Kotagiri Hills, near Mettupalayam. A residential workshop, the participants will get to iron out their imperfections and tweak their singing skills amid the serene hills, away from the city.
Vijayalakshmy Subramaniam, a carnatic singer, and Mannarkoil J Balaji, a mridangam artiste, who has had a concert experience of over 30 years, will be taking lessons in laya (rhythm). Along with them, S Sundar, a medical practitioner and a Kalaimamani awardee who has over 35 years of experience in carnatic music, and Aruna Ranganathan, an A-grade artiste with the All India Radio, who specialises in padams and javalis, will also train the participants.
Speaking to City Express, Balaji said that this was the first-of-its-kind workshop, where the course would be crafted to suit participants’ need.
“A variety of genres will be taught within a span of four days.So, those who have some competence in singing and a fair knowledge of carnatic music will be the ideal participants. The workshop will give them a chance to learn rare and exquisite compositions, and achieve a greater understanding of tala and laya,” he said.
Balaji added that Sunder, Vijayalakshmi and Aruna would be taking vocal lessons based on the compositions of the carnatic trinity — Thyagaraja, Muthuswami Dikhsitar and Shyama Shastri, apart from Tamil composers and others from the 20th century. They will take up rare ragas, as part of the workshop.
“As I am a percussionist, I will demystify the rhythm,” he stated. He added that there would be additional listening sessions, in which students would be exposed to recorded renditions by the experts of carnatic music.
“They will get to analyse these compositions, enhance their knowledge, and we will appraise them about our concert experiences. The workshop will be handled jointly by all of us. We will also throw light on the concert experience and various methods of singing,” said Balaji, talking about the programme.
After their initial success in May when the retreat happened for the first time with 10 participants, the second session will be conducted from August 13 to 16, with openings for 12 participants.
“It is meant to be intensive and individual attention is more important, hence we have limited entries. However, we will conduct it three to four times each year to encourage more participation,” said the percussionist.
Additionally, Samyuktha Ranganathan, lead singer in the band Electrik Blues, New York, will give voice culture lessons. To register, contact 98410 71959, 99620 30766 before August 1.