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Ode to queen of musical instruments

Staff Reporter

The veena festival will feature over 30 maestros in relay performances in Chennai sabha To be inaugurated on October 28, the festival will be held at Narada Gana Sabha in Chennai, with renowned artistes R.Visweswaran, E. Gayathri and Ravikiran opening the relay recitals

NEW DELHI: A celebration of India's musical traditions, paying a rare ode to the queen of musical instruments this month will be a three-day-long National Veena Festival in Chennai featuring over 30 maestros in relay performances. To be inaugurated on October 28, the festival will be held at Narada Gana Sabha in Chennai, with renowned artistes R.Visweswaran, E. Gayathri and Ravikiran opening the relay recitals. An attempt to popularise the ancient musical form, the opening ceremony will also have the Veena Foundation Awards being bestowed on four maestros -- Pichumani Aiyar, Vidya Shankar, Kalpagam Swaminathan and R.Vishweswaran -- for their contribution to the world of music. Planned on the lines of the Thyagaraja Mahotsavam, the event will feature relay performances, with 15 prominent artistes performing one after the other between 2 p.m. and 9-30 p.m on the second day. The final day's performances will take place at Sri Thyaga Brahma Gana Sabha with another 15 artistes showcasing their talent. "This is the first time such a galaxy of Veena players will be performing for goddess Saraswati. Through the Veena great men have expressed their feelings in the ethereal language. We are hoping this festival will kindle interest in the study of the ancient instrument," said Raghuraman Ayyar, secretary-general of the Veena Foundation.

Set up to celebrate the Veena tradition and study its evolution through various civilisations, the Veena Foundation studies the variations, modifications and innovations in the musical instrument and revive and revitalise Veena music through such festivals.

"The festival will be a celebration of the ancient acoustic innovation and the musical sound and resonance of India. The Veena, central to India's heritage, represents the confluence of the science of musical sounds and the Indic philosophy of harmony and tranquillity. Veena is our glorious past and our future destiny," notes L.M. Singhvi, founder-chairman and life trustee of the Foundation.

While the high point of the festival will surely be the relay recitals, a special seminar has also been organised for a discussion on various topics like history of Veena, gayaki style on the Veena, teaching methodologies and the spiritual and artistic aspects of Veena-making. To be presented in collaboration with Karnataka Sangeetha Sabha, New Delhi, Narada Gana Sabha, Sri Thyaga Brahma Gana Sabha and Mudra the event promises a feast of music. Entry is free.

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