Singer popularises Carnatic music abroad

Bhavana Pradyumna also takes music classes via Skype
Last Updated : 10 November 2019, 15:01 IST
Last Updated : 10 November 2019, 15:01 IST
Last Updated : 10 November 2019, 15:01 IST
Last Updated : 10 November 2019, 15:01 IST

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Bhavana Pradyumna is a classical musician and Bharatanatyam dancer. “I started learning music from my mother, Malini Raghunandan, but I started my formal training at six. Music has always been a part of my life,” shares Bhavana.

She has spent the last four years popularising Carnatic music in Europe.

Though she started studying Bharatanatyam at the age of 11, due to health reasons, she stopped dancing after her first pregnancy. However, she openly favours music to dance.

“While I love both music and dance, I am more proficient in music. I also think I can contribute more to society through it. I accompany dancers on both vocals and nattuvangam. I think being a dancer has helped me sing better,” she explains.

Bhavana and Pradyumna Kandadai, her husband, started the Carnatic Conservatoryof Paris in 2015.
Bhavana and Pradyumna Kandadai, her
husband, started the Carnatic Conservatory
of Paris in 2015.

Bhavana, who was born and raised in Bengaluru, moved out of the city for the first time at the age of 22. “We moved to Atlanta, USA, and lived there for four years. I was working at Emory University as the director of South Indian ensemble. We moved to Europe so that we would have the chance to experience different cultures. Having said that, I think Bengaluru has shaped me as a person, to be culturally rich with a cosmopolitan outlook towards life,” she says.

In 2015, she, along with her husband, Pradyumna Kandadai, started the Carnatic Conservatory of Paris. “We wanted to build an organisation which can contribute to Carnatic music at the same level as the conservatories in Paris, and across France. We are focused on maintaining its authenticity, and traditions. We never present fusion music, and it is people who seek that authenticity that seek us out,” she shares.

Over the last five years, the organisation has provided a platform to more than 40 artistes, across seven different nationalities. They conduct two flagship annual events called ‘Paris Tyagaraja Aaradhana’ and ‘Nritya Naada’.

Their audience belongs to different nationalities, with Europeans forming a majority. “Europeans are beginning to appreciate and enjoy this music. I like to believe that it is because of my consistent effort to present the soulfulness of Carnatic music to them.”

She also gives classes to aspiring singers. “I have a few Indian students. Sri Lankans are more. I also teach a French, Australian and Taiwanese students. I have a student from Azerbaijan, as well,” shares Bhavana.

She is not limited to students living in Paris. She takes lessons over Skype for students in Germany, the UK, USA, Australia and Denmark.

Their latest programme is called ‘Sanātana’, where they provide a platform for touring artistes to present their art to a European audience. This series is presented in Sanskrit and French to celebrate the richness of both the cultures.

She has also been working on a genre of her own called ‘CarNic’ music. “When I moved to France, I began learning about different European music styles. I was also looking for ways to find common notes across different music styles. I was exploring Fado and Jazz. My idea was to blend the two while retaining the purity of both genres. A lot more work has to be done in this area; the journey has just begun,” she adds.

Published 10 November 2019, 15:01 IST

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