Celtic Connections: From South India to Glasgow
In its aim to showcase Classical Carnatic musical traditions on the international touring circuit, EarthSync presents Veena virtuoso Dr. Jayanthi Kumaresh live at the Celtic Connections Festival in Glasgow, Scotland – a renowned winter music festival featuring the finest of Scottish talent alongside musicians from all around the world. Dr. Jayanthi Kumaresh will be playing two shows as part of the festival, and is also featured as part of Celtic Connection 2017’s celebration of inspiring women artists from around the world.
“I’m looking forward to presenting the national instrument of India – the Saraswati Veena – to an international audience in Glasgow, introducing many of them to the textures of this ancient instrument originating from the Vedic period” begins Kumaresh, her soft spoken tone reminiscent of the sweetness of her instrument, “I will perform with two percussionists – Jaya Chandra Rao on Mridangam, and Pramath Kiran on tabla – I wanted to also present a Hindustani instrument, and another instrument called the morchang – or the Jew harp”.
Though Dr. Jayanthi will be performing pieces that were composed in the 1700’s during the great poet saint Thyagaraja’s era, her interpretation of these pieces reflects the world of a 20th century musician who has grown up in today’s era. “I come from a family who has had a Classical lineage of musicians for the past 7 generations” she explains, “but when I went to college, I would meet friends who listen to hard rock, to Stevie Wonder, the internet also arrived – it’s a different generation to the time when the great saints created these compositions. So what the great composers did – that will be there, but with my flavours as a contemporary musician”.
With both of Dr. Jayanthi’s concerts taking place in the evening, she has chosen ragas that will express this rasa or mood. “I’ll be performing evening ragas like Kama Vardini, Charu Keshi, and Behag. Kama Vardini is a very majestic raga – it’s a little serious, authoritative but very soul searching. Charu keshi is full of karuna rasa – compassion – a bhakti rasa, that pulls at one’s heart strings. With music, though you cant see it or quantify it, there’s something in the ether that touches a chord – you don’t have to understand any particular terminology or where the gat comes from, as long as the audience arrives with an open heart”.
The performances are aimed at providing more international platforms for the music and culture of South India, fueled by a mission to support these age old traditions of music and help save some of these traditions from extinction. “The South of India is a cultural epicenter for Carnatic music, a hub of this ancient musical tradition that needs now more than ever to be preserved and shared with more audiences worldwide” says EarthSync’s Sonya Mazumdar, “This collaboration with the Celtic Connections Festival is a step towards realizing this vision for the Classical arts, finding interesting ways to keep it relevant and alive in a modern musical context”.
Dr. Jayanthi also showcased the Veena at the Hong Kong Arts Festival 2015, a direct outcome of her performance at the IndiEarth XChange. “It’s been such a pleasure working with EarthSync – they are people who do it for the sheer love of music, taking our music to different parts of the world” she smiles, “When we performed in Hong Kong the audience had never heard this instrument before. I would like to give credit to EarthSync for taking this instrument far and wide where people haven’t heard of it – it’s a great service to the cause of Indian Classical music to facilitate this exposure”.
Dr. Jayanthi Kumaresh is an internationally acclaimed Carnatic Veena maestro hailing from an illustrious family of musicians who have been immersed in the Carnatic tradition for seven generations. Her performances at Celtic Connections 2017 take place on Friday January 27th at 7:30pm, and Saturday January 28th at 8:00pm.
For more information, visit: http://www.celticconnections.com/