Thursday, December 23, 2010

Finger tips


Learning, practicing and performing a fine art is a great way to increase physical and mental wellbeing. This has been proved periodically by several people in the medical field.
Communication is a key part of what makes performing arts a success, whether it’s the actor or musician communicating with the audience, the director communicating with the actor or the choreographer communicating with the dancer - their jobs will only work together successfully if everyone communicates and cooperates. Therefore, involvement in the performing arts will improve and develop your interpersonal skills.
There is evidence to suggest that involvement in Music, Dance and Drama can improve the concentration levels in other subjects, as well as adding a new depth of knowledge and understanding to other subject areas. There are also spiritual and psychological benefits, as the performing arts encourage self-discipline, self-expression, calmness and fulfillment.
There are several perspectives to this. On a social level, learning, practicing a fine art sharpens our sensitivities to more subtle issues, emotions and expressions. It gives a sense of belonging to a particular culture, a sense of identity and a sense of evolution from merely existing to earn and spend.

Indian classical music for instance gives us enrichment on several areas. To start with, the yogic posture of Padmasana is practiced while learning or performing. It is directly related to our confidence level and state of mind at any given time.

The practice of aligning one’s voice or instrument to a particular Sruthi or pitch makes us focus on something stressless and enriching. This makes us to stay in tune with a particular frequency that indirectly improves our alignment faculty.

Remembering the grammar of a certain raga and its structure enables a certain method in creativity that leads to organized thought. Art is not random creativity but artistically organized expression of creative thoughts.

Next, on the psychological level, Indian music soothes the senses and connects one to the Within. The spiritual anchor it provides crosses the boundaries of region or religion.

The Tala or the rhythm provides the track for the music to manifest in a very systematic way. While the singer is showing the counts of the beats of the tala in a certain measured metric method, it becomes a motor activity that slowly becomes independent of conscious thought and happens automatically.

This entire process unconsciously increases the bandwidth of the brain wherein the creativity happens on one side, the adherence to the grammar and sruthi happens on the other side, the motor activity of the tala keeps happening and the posture exudes confidence and clear thought. We may even call the entire process a Psychosomatic Motor activity.

Psychosomatic medicine is an interdisciplinary medical field studying the relationships of social, psychological, and behavioral factors on bodily processes and well-being in humans and animals. Indian music is said to improve the intellectual capacity of children and increase their ability to multi task efficiently.

In concurrence with the same thought, playing the Veena or any such instrument activates the tip of the fingers that indirectly activates the nerve endings that are acupressure points. So, apart from all the positive aspects mentioned earlier, playing a music instrument certainly gives a sense of achievement, relieves stress, disciplines, improves team work, communicates emotions and adds sheen to the entire personality.

With the Margazhi Music festival rocking Chennai, it is perhaps a good time to cultivate or renew interest in the Fine arts.

Friday, December 17, 2010


Just wanted to inform you about a very special program called SHRI RAGAM - STORY IN CONCERT on the 19th of Dec 2010 at 4.30pm in Krishna Gana Sabha, T.Nagar. This is probably the first time something like this is being presented. A story of a musician, well reputed and well established interwoven with the story of a young musician is told with layers of music and narration in a lucid language (both Tamil and English) .

Many aspects of Carnatic and Hindustani Music are highlighted with vivid explanations and examples. What goes in into the training of a Master musician, practise techniques, music and spirituality, the qualifying period for a musician...several such concepts are interwoven into the fabric of the story!!

The Programme features:-

Dr.Jayanthi Kumaresh - Concept, Script, Narration and Veena

Abhishek Raghuram - Carnatic Vocal

M.D.Pallavi - Narration and Hindustani Vocal

Pramath Kiran - Percussion (Tabla and Morsing)

Anand Ananthakrishnan - Mridangam

Come and enjoy...
Hope to see you..

Monday, June 14, 2010

Ash cloud

I had the 'good fortune' of being in the UK during the ash cloud megavaganza..why not... where there is action in the world..there you will find me with my Veena strumming away to glory. I reached UK for my COLOURS OF VEENA tour. My Mridangam artiste was awaiting his Visa from the UK consulate and was scheduled to arrive a couple of days after my departure. And well, that never happened because the UK consulate closed for a week for their easter break and when they re opened, the volcano in ice land had other plans for me. I was destined to play that tour with a rare Veena Tabla combo and that I did. Much to my pleasant surprise, the sync was so good that the concerts were a huge success.
Then came the last hill to climb..will the ash cloud disperse when i wanted to go back home after the tour? well, you will have to wait for six months , said one. Maybe a couple of months, said another. Maybe , a year said some. I thought, Gosh, what did i get myself into...Have you seen the film "Athithi tum kub jaogi"...I thought my story would become like that.
But god was on my side and the ash cloud cleared up for about a week and I reached home safe and sound. from Ash to blue skies...

Friday, June 11, 2010

Travails of a traveling musician

Friends have been asking me to update my blog periodically. I thought that instead of writing something that you all already know, i will write about the travails of a traveling musician. In my 24 years of traveling, there has not been one dull moment. Taking the Veena from one room to another itself offers innumerable opportunities for the person carrying it to slip somewhere..Imagine traveling all over the globe with it in cars, trains, buses, planes, vans, conveyer belts,escalators and what not!!

Early this week, I finished my concert in Mysore and was driving back to Bangalore late at night. We were traveling by a Getz car-Diesel CRDI engine..the drive was smooth and the weather was awesome...sleep tempted our eyelids as we approached the city of chennapatna which is almost midway between Mysore and Bangalore. We were running out of diesel and so the driver pulled into a Petrol bunk. In the sleepy state that everyone was in, none noticed that it was PETROL that was being filled into the gas tank.
Very content after filling the tank, we drove on in the highway with GNB's stimulating voice coloring the background.

In 2 mins the car jerked to a halt right in the middle of the highway with all heavy duty vehicles zooming past in full speed.It was a little past midnight and I was in my concert attire with the Veena on my lap!! As we were still figuring out why the car had stopped, my husband took control of the situation and called HYUNDAI service station and they were so efficient that they said that they will send a vehicle for help asap. Meanwhile we waved at quite a few vehicles zipping past asking for a ride and finally found a suitable car in which all of us could squeeze in with baggage et all and we reached Bangalore by 2am. Meanwhile, the Hyundai service vehicle found my car with the driver in chennapatna and drained out all the Petrol from the tank and then filled in deisel and re started the car. Luck was on our side and so the car behaved well and started. The driver then drove the car back to Bangalore and reached home by 4am..
Hozzat for a start??

Monday, January 11, 2010


As a Solo Veena player, the way I plan my concert is very different from the way a regular Carnatic musician would do. I do not have a violin accompaniment to exchange dialougues between the swaraprastharas. Nor do i have anyone to play a reply alap after mine. No rest whatsoever.So every note in the concert has to emenate from my Veena. It is important to keep the attention span of the audience. It is important to give Variety. It is important to sustain energy till the end. It is important not to let the concert sag..So, I plan accordingly. This may answer the questions of some who ask why I dont always play a sub main too...