Launching Sruti Digital Magazine Subscription

Launching Sruti Digital Magazine Subscription

Monday, 17 February 2020

Melbourne round up

The Australia-India bond goes beyond just the ‘cricket’ connection. As a musician living in Melbourne for more than a quarter of a century, I have seen the proliferation of Indian classical arts in this country. The arts calendar Down Under brims with activities year-round. Here is a summary of some of the events that took place in the latter half of 2019.
Conference on music therapy
The Australian Music Therapy Association (AMTA) hosted the 2019 National Conference in Melbourne. Alongside this conference, a special symposium focusing on ‘Music, Adolescents and Trauma’, in partnership with the University of Melbourne was held on 29 and 30 November 2019. Hosted at the beautiful and brand new Ian Potter Southbank Centre, Melbourne—the new home of the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music—the theme for the symposium was ‘Changing the future - through Advocacy, Equity, and Partnership’.
After the official welcome, the keynote address was delivered by Dr. Philippa Derrington (Scotland) on working alongside a young adolescent who experienced childhood trauma. The conference acknowledged the important contribution of therapists, especially music therapists, and the future of music therapy. The ways that clients, communities, and stakeholders can access and engage with these specialised services were explored. As a non-invasive treatment with no side-effects, it was acknowledged that music therapy as a procedure should be integrated with cure and well-being of the general public. Its introduction among children has boosted kinetic energy, and in aged homes the spirited involvement has brought back pleasant memories in dementia patients.
The conference had delegates participating from around the world, and it was heartening to hear their inputs on the therapeutical facets of music.
10th Anniversary of FIMDV
The Federation of Indian Music and Dance Schools (FIMDV) is a flagship body that encompasses all the top schools of music and dance in Victoria. The Federation celebrated its tenth anniversary in August 2019 and hosted a mega event, appropriately titled, Dashavatar. Curated with an innovative approach, it encapsulated the Dasavatarams or ten incarnations; linking multimedia presentations along with dance, music, and kathakalakshepam to the theory of evolution and incorporated climate change and its impact in the Kalki avatar. The message for the fully-packed audience was to be more socially aware and be responsible for sustaining our planet for future generations. The Consul General of India, Rakesh Malhotra, and councillors from Manningham Council and Victorian Multi-Cultural Commission were among the dignitaries who attended the event.
Shobha Sekhar and her ensemble at FIMDV
Apoorva and the Quintet
Ravi Ravichandhira OAM has been one of the earliest promoters of Indian classical music in Melbourne. On 27 November 2019, he curated a programme  jointly presented by Melbourne Recital Centre and Multicultural Arts Victoria. The event began with an interesting multi-nadai varnam by Narmatha Ravichandhira (vocal), accompanied by Apoorva Krishna (violin) and Ravi Ravichandhira (mridangam). Apoorva Krishna showcased the Lalgudi bani in the Charukesi varnam and moved on to collaborate with the Australian Sruti Laya Ensemble featuring Jonathan Dimond, Adrian Sheriff (bass trombone), Sai Nivaeithan and Sai Sarangan (mridangam), and Athavan Wijeyamanoharan (khanjira/ konnakol). The programme featured contemporary and traditional pieces—Blues Jog by Jonathan and Bahudari tillana by Apoorva. The transition created an impressive impact on the listeners.
Apoorva Krishna with Australian Sruti Laya Ensemble
Annual veena fest
The Iyer Brothers (Ramnath and Gopinath), Melbourne based vainikas, have been the forerunners of the Pichumani School of Carnatic Music in Melbourne since the 1990s. They have been instrumental in establishing the primacy of the veena Down Under. In their interest to propagate this grand instrument, the Iyer Brothers started an annual veena festival in Melbourne which is now in its third year. They have been well-supported in this endeavour by local arts bodies such as The Boite, Victorian Multicultural Commission, and established business houses.
The event held in August 2019 witnessed impressive performers ranging from an ensemble of senior students of the Pichumani School to young talent. The festival began with an invocation by vocalists from the Pichumani School—the prayer on Lord Ganesa was penned by Shoba Iyer and set to tune by R.K Shriramkumar. Malathi Vasudevan from  New Zealand,  a disciple of the late Mangalam Muthuswamy, treated the audience to select compositions including a less-heard raga such as Veeravasantam. Mridangam support for the festival was provided by local talents—Vignesh Ravi, Athavan Wijeyamanoharan, Nanthesh Sivarajah, and senior mridangam players Sridhar Chari and Ravi M. Ravichandhira.
The capstone event of the festival was by the Iyer Brothers. Their veenas were in synchrony as always and the brothers played with their customary gravitas and classicism.
Ravi M. Ravichandhira (mridangam) and Iyer Brothers (veena)
(Scholar and arts aficionado)

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