‘Feud won’t affect music festival’

The city’s legendary Ramanavami classical music festival won’t be affected by differences within the host family, says trust now in charge

The music festival will take place from April 6 to May 6.

The Ramanavami music festival at Old Fort High School Grounds will not be affected by the feud within the family hosting it, a note from the organisers says.

Metrolife had reported last week how the family of S V Narayanaswamy Rao, founder of Sree Rama Seva Mandali, was divided into two camps, with one of them accusing the other of starting a new trust five years ago.

S N Varadaraj, managing trustee and general secretary of Sree Ramaseva Mandali Ramanavami Celebrations Trust, says nothing has changed in the 80-year-old organisation.

In his words: “Family problem is quite different from the organisation. We have received hundreds of calls and messages from our supporters. Every organisation will have to evolve as and when new requirements arrive.”

He says the Mandali, founded in 1939, was “registered under the Indian Trusts Act … five years ago as Sree Ramaseva Mandali Ramanavami Celebrations Trust,” and Sree Ramaseva Mandali continues to be the organisation’s “registered brand name.” 

Varadaraj also says the relationship between him and the well-known vocalist K J Yesudas was not strained, as alleged by his siblings. Yesudas is not performing at this year’s Ramanavami festival, Varadaraj says, because of “prior commitments.”

“It is wrong to say he is not coming because of a family problem here. He is a great personality and a family dispute cannot come between his love for the Mandali and Bengaluru rasikas,” he says. 

He says he will resolve problems soon to ensure smooth operations. 

Preparations are afoot for the festival, the largest for Indian classical music in the city, he reassures music lovers. “We have a lot of exciting stuff lined up this year. Many performances are taking place for the first time in the history of Ramotsava,” Varadaraj
says. 

This year features many jugalbandis. “We have a fusion concert with L Subramanyam and American pianist Svetlana Amolina. This is the main highlight of the festival,” he says. 

A youth music festival will take place from April 7 to May 6 at the same pandal. 

The Mandali received about 2,800 applications and selected 25 musicians to present Carnatic concerts. The participants fall in two categories: 1 to 20 years and 20 to 30 years.

Six of the best will be given cash prizes of Rs 10,000, Rs 6,000 and Rs 4,000, besides watches.

Gandhi and Wadiyar

The festival also commemorates the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, the birth centenary of Jayachamarajendra Wadiyar and the 95th birth anniversary of Mandali founder S V Narayanaswamy Rao.

Tickets here

Season and daily tickets available on Mandali website (www.ramanavamitickets.com). Season tickets start at Rs 300.

Awards this year

Ramagaana Kalacharya award for Bombay Jayashree, presented on April 6.

SV Narayanaswamy Rao Global Music Award for S P Balasubramanyam, presented on April 21.

A first for SPB

nMovie playback singer S P Balasubramanyam will be singing keertanas by Tyagaraja, Annamacharya, and Bhadrachala Ramadas in a first-of-its-kind concert at the festival this year. “He always wanted to give a classical music concert, at least once in his life. We are honoured it is happening on our stage,” says host S N Varadaraj.

30 days of music

This year, the Ramanavami music festival begins on April 6 and concludes on May 6. This year features many jugalbandis, including one between L Subramaniam and American pianist Svetlana Amolina.

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‘Feud won’t affect music festival’

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