The best of both worlds

The best of both worlds

The strings of the veena sent gentle vibrations through Chowdiah Memorial Hall. The dimly-lit auditorium experienced a pleasant thrill as Dr Suma Sudhindra began the inaugural concert of the Bangalore International Arts Festival (BIAF) during the weekend.

The seventh edition of BIAF, an event that has grown over the years, started with a grand opening as the founder of the event, Suma, along with six other talented musicians, came together for a fusion concert. Titled ‘The Carnatic Crossover’, the seven musicians brought the best of the West and East.

The concert comprised of Suma, on the Saraswathi veena, renowned flautist, Ned McGowan, Anooru Anantha Krishna Sharma on the tabla and other percussion instruments, N N Ganesh Kumar on the violin, BC Manjunath on the mrudangam and konnakol, Karthik Mani on drums and percussion and Shadrach Solomon on keyboard.

Suma and Ned married the notes of their respective instruments with ease. The first song, a ‘varnam’ in ‘abhogi’ raga, was an improvisation between the two. Percussionists Anooru Anantha and Manjunath played with flair while Karthik added the right beats.

Ned, who is a well-known Western flautist, is one of the few people in the world who plays the contrabass flute. He started with a solo on the instrument for the second piece and was joined by the rest to create harmony.

The third piece was an improvised one of Muttuswami Dikshitar and Suma took the lead. Ned, who has a long-standing love affair with Carnatic music, took to the music with ease. Their masterpieces were two compositions titled Priyatharangini, a sweet,

melodious tune by Suma, and ‘Ganesha Sank in Sankey Tank’, a bubbly piece, full of emotions untold by Ned. The flautist celebrated wrote the song after celebrating his first ‘Ganesha Habba’.

Each of the musicians took their turn at a solo and demonstrated their talent. The confluence of two cultures was pulled off with ease and added to the festivities. BIAF will go on till September 21 in venues all over the City. .

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