CHENNAI: Over 100 children from the famous children’s choir LEAP Boundary Breakers will perform a repertoire of songs at an event titled ‘Folks of Harmony’ at Phoenix MarketCity today. The founder and artistic director for the performance, Srinivas Krishnan, gives us a peek into the choir’s evolution and its artistic process.
“When I calmly think about the evolution of the entire team, it takes me back to its origin about five years ago. It was an idea that was brewing in my mind...the idea to provide deep cultural immersion and foster leadership engagement through artistic performances among children,” he says talking about the choir which is mentored by AR Rahman.
For Srinivas, art and music have always been a catalyst in bringing spontaneity and creativity. “When several people including AR Rahman encouraged me to start a choir that stays updated with time, but at the same time becomes a platform for classical music, admirable to children, I decided to step up,” he shares.
Two years ago, through LEAP, world music and dance were introduced as a medium to bring in creativity, teamwork, enhance attention span into the lives of hundreds of children, and provide each child a global approach to problem-solving through performance opportunities. “It is very important to expose children to new music and cultures. As they grow old they will welcome new cultures, and fresh ideas won’t seem foreign to them,” he says. The LEAP Boundary Breakers Choir was a culmination of this mission.
From Marathi Natya Sangeet to Bengali Rabindra Sangeet; compositions of AR Rahman, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Shankar Mahadevan, Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, Arijit Singh, Adele, Queen, Bruno Mars, Ajay Atul to new composers and genres of music, the children are exposed to it all. “It is all about breaking boundaries and finding new methods to make the children ready for new ideas. They learn how to become receptive and more appreciative. They learn to become a ‘rasika’ of art,” he shares.
The LEAP Boundary Breakers has secured invitations and performed at the World Bank, Columbia University, the Ray and Maria Stata Center at MIT and Berklee NYC Powerstation. “Artistes including Lady Gaga, Bruce Springsteen, Peter Gabriel have performed in Berklee NYC,” he beams. The team has also performed in Mary Baldwin University, IIT Madras, Zee TV and Amir Mahal.
Giving us a glimpse of what the choir will be performing today, Srinivas says, “We will be spreading our repertoire. Classical songs of Rahman and few other songs will be presented in a different way, we will be weaving in different accompaniments,” he says. He clarifies that it will not be a ‘fusion’. “We have reimagined the songs. The children have played a major role by sharing their ideas and inputs. They have put in a lot of collaborative effort to elevate the performance,” he explains.
His dream is to take the children across India, where they can explore music. “I want to take them to Rishikesh, to Kerala where they can see hundreds of people playing the melam. These initial experiences will come back to them when they grow up,” he adds. (The choir will perform today from 7 pm at Phoenix MarketCity)
The team has performed with Valerie Naranjo from NBC show Saturday Night Live Band, Paschal and Zelma Badu Younge from Ghana, Jamey Haddad (drummer of Paul Simon), Pandit Jayateerth Mevundi, Pandit Anand Gandharva, Aruna Sairam, and Sathish Kumar. The team has also performed live with AR Rahman.