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When strings stir the soul...

Bengaluru: June 12, 2016, DHNS 2:10 IST
Sitar maestro Pandit Niladri Kumar performs at 'Soul to Soul,' a fundraising event organised by the Art of Living Academy of Performing Arts and Udupa Foundation at the Art of Living campus in the city, on Saturday. dh photo
It was an evening where sound and spirituality seamlessly merged together. Acclaimed sitarist Niladri Kumar enthralled a packed auditorium with his emotionally rich, classical and fusion pieces at Art of Living International Centre, Vishalakshi Mantap, Kanakpura Road.

Titled ‘Soul to Soul,’ the concert was a fundraising event to support education of the underprivileged. He was accompanied by Padma Shree awardee Pandit Vijay Ghate on the tabla. The event started with the lighting of the lamp after which the artistes were honoured. The concert unveiled with the raga ‘Charukesi’, - common to the south Indian carnatic tradition and was later adapted to the north Indian musical tradition. He started with an ‘aalaap,’ which meandered like a bubbling stream. The audience was on the feet as he played fast notes and higher octaves.

Known for revolutionising the style of sitar playing in the country by inventing his own instrument - the fiery red electric ‘Zitar’, - Kumar played fusion pieces with equal passion and ease. He also played a few fast medleys. The two made a great team and presented culturally rich music as Pandit Vijay presented deep and intricate versions of rhythms.

Yumi, an expat from Japan, said that she loved Niladri's music so much that she began learning sitar herself. “Indian classical music is so rich and inspiring. I began learning sitar after I heard Niladri for the first time. It was beautiful and moving.”

It wouldn't be wrong to say that the audience did hear a slice of Pandit Ravishankar, Niladri Kumar's 'guru'.

‘Soul to Soul’ is the first concert in the hallmark series of benefit music performances that intend to support the initiative - ‘Gift A Smile’ of The Art of Living. Currently, this initiative supports the education of 51,061 underprivileged children across 425 free schools in rural and tribal India. It aims to reach out to 60,000 children by the end of 2016. There was also a tour of The Art of Living International Campus before the concert.

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