Song of Surrender

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Festival of Sacred Music

By Samudri

Chennai’s Prakriti Foundation has announced the annual Festival of Sacred Music at Tiruvaiyaru. The festival this year will feature the following performances.

 1 March 2013 at the courtyard of an old Maratha palace
  • Music of Benares: a sitar duet by Pandit Shivnath Mishra and Deobrat Mishra of the Benares Gharana, accompanied by Prashant Mishra on the tabla.
  • Qawwali concert by Najmuddin Saifuddin & Brothers from Pakistan
2 March 2013 at the Pushya Mahal Ghat on the banks of the river Kaveri
  • Saptaakshara by percussionist T.H. Vikku Vinayakram
3 March 2013 at the Panchanadeeswara temple
  • Vocal music by Sanjay Subrahmanyan

Profiles of the artistes

Shivnath Mishra was born in 1943 in Benares, United Provinces, British India into a family of professional musicians stretching back to the 15th century. He began receiving his initial training in vocal music at the age of five from his father Badar Prasad Mishra and uncle Pandit Mahadev Prasad Mishra. At the age of eight, he started learning the sitar.

In 1967, Mishra won the prestigious All India Radio competition held at Allahabad. This was followed by a gold medal at the All India Music Conference in Calcutta in 1967. He has played many times at the  Ganga Mahotsav Cultural Programme organized by the government of Uttar Pradesh. He has shared stage space with such  tabla stalwarts as  Samta Prasad,  Kishan Maharaj, Nanhku Maharaj and Lachhu Maharaj and also sarod maestro Aashish Khan. A prominent ‘A’ grade artist of  All India Radio and TV, he has been featured in feature films. 

Shivnath Mishra, his son Deobrat, and  other members of the Mishra-Maharaj family were featured in the 2011 British ITV1 documentary A Passage through India narrated by Caroline Quentin.

In the 13th century, Hazrat Yameenuddin Abul-Hasan Amir Khusrau, a legendary musician,unparalleled poet, soldier, Sufi and philosopher, trained a group of twelve elite youngsters in the art of qawwali, to be known as the  Qawwal Bachchay Gharana of Delhi or Delhi Gharana. The prominent names of the torchbearers of this mystical style of performance are Mian Saamat, AI-Haaj Meer Qutab Bukhsh alias Mian Tanrus Khansaheb, Ghulam Ghous Khansaheb and Haji Suleman Khansaheb. 

Ustad Qawwal Bahauddin Khansaheb is the son of Haji Suleman Khansaheb and a maestro in the Khusrau tradition of Qawwali. He enchanted audiences all over the world with his knowledge, voice and command over  different . He  successfully transferred this spiritual art and style to his sons, Qawwal Najmuddin Saifuddin and  Brothers. In 2004, Najmuddin, the eldest son of Qawwal Bahauddin was appointed as doyen in the Chishti Sufi order to carry on the spiritual tradition and propagate its message of love, peace and humanity apart from his performances all over the world.

The magic of South Indian classical percussion springs to life with Layasamarpan.

At the forefront of this group is T.H. 'Vikku' Vinayakram, an international celebrity with his arresting drumming on the ghatam.

Vikku’s father, Sri T R Harihara Sharma brought the concept of SapthaLaya Aksharangal also called the seven syllables used in the   Carnatic percussion system. Vikku  always wanted to establish the richness of  Carnatic percussion at a global level. His dream was thus fulfilled by the creation of Saptakshara.

The instruments performed by the group's talented musicians are the ghatam, violin, tavil, khanjira, and morsing while vocal music as well as  konnakkol (vocal percussion) are part of its offerings.

The movements of the group are assembled in mainly in three ways. The vocalist sings the spiritual slogan, each rhythm then translates into its own tone and after the serial replay, all of them combine together and follow the melody.

Sanjay Subrahmanyan was born in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. He began learning music at the age of seven. His initial training was under V. Lakshminarayana on the violin. He later switched to vocal music and was trained by Rukmini Rajagopalan for a period of almost eight years. Sanjay continues to learn from nagaswaram maestro Semponnarkoil SRD Vaidyanathan.

Sanjay teaches music, and has many successful students such as Prashanth Viswanathan, Swarna Rethas, Sandeep Narayan, and Prasanna Venkatraman in the contemporary music field. Sanjay has enthralled music loving audiences in Chennai as well as in Mumbai, Calcutta, Bangalore, Delhi and other places all over India. He has toured Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Australia, the US, Canada, the UK, Switzerland and Oman.

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