In the middle of getting ready for the Spring Recital 2015 of Swarnabhoomi Academy Music at Rani Seethai Hall recently, was Carolina Calvache, a pianist-cumposer from Columbia. Her music style blends South American rhythms with contemporary jazz. She served as piano faculty for a semester at the academy.
Having come to the city for the first time in February, the pianist did not stop with just teaching, but also went on to give a few performances in the city, mostly at Bay 146 in the Savera Hotel. Carolina, who left for her hometown on Saturday, spoke about the memories of her 15-week stay in the city, that she would take back with her.
At the mention of music and Tamil, I get reminded of Ilaiyaraja. I can’t pronounce the lyrics, but I can still keep humming the tunes of his songs that I have on my phone. In Pani Vizhum Malarvanam (she checks her phone to get the words right), he has used the notes so well that it appeals to foreign musicians as well. I think he is amazing!
There are many carnatic songs that are catchy and I keep repeating their lyrics and tone all day. One such song is Brocheva (referring to the popular carnatic song that the students in the institute once performed). It is very difficult to sing these songs with such precision and clarity. I quite like Chennai’s music scene – be it classical or film. There are a few songs we used to listen to in the car. I don’t remember their names now, but I found them beautiful.
I have not worn the traditional sari, but I have worn a salwar on occasion. I thought it looked nice on me. I also like kurtas that many young women wear here.
In Chennai, frankly, besides the embassy and the hospital, I haven’t been out much. We would mostly stick to the institute and when we get some time off the packed schedule, I got to visit Puducherry or Auroville. Also, since SAM’s institute is close to Puducherry, I wanted to explore those areas more.
Reception to Western Music
Going by what my students and members have SAM shown, Chennai has a ear for good western music, and the students are a bundle of talent. Their calibre is commendable. Teaching them has been very pleasant and I look forward to more visits here.