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The colours of the varna

Ranjani Govind

Lecdem by a music guru gets serious about nuances



FOR STUDENTS:Neela Ramgopal's lecdem is on Sunday.

Bangalore: Even a Hindustani musician such as Ajoy Chakraborty has a high regard for the Carnatic genre's introductory lessons, which offer traditionally formatted swara idioms and “straightforward songs” for beginners.

“Varnas have fascinated me as a musical form. They prove to be excellent warm-up exercises for your voice,” he once said at a concert.

The measured speeds, the elongated lyrical variations and the swara patterns that typify a raga are all present in the varnas that are taught just before taking up serious kritis.

No wonder one of the senior gurus of the city, Neela Ramgopal, has chosen ‘Varnas during the Time of the Trinity and post-Trinity Composers' for her lecdem on Sunday.“The form is a foundation to understanding the mapping of a raga,” says Ms. Ramgopal as she explains that “a glimpse of the gamakas in varnas characterises a flavour of the raga swaroopa.”

Ms. Ramgopal, an A Grade artiste of the All India Radio since 1965, is an accomplished teacher who has groomed hundreds of performing musicians.

Her music organisation, Neelambari, has recorded a marathon 72-melakartha raga kritis. Dikshitar's ‘Rama Upasana kritis' and Purandaradasa's collection ‘Narayana Enniro' are her other recordings for “educative sessions”.

The lecdem is on February 27, 5.30 p.m., at Nadasurabhi, The Indian Heritage Academy, 6 {+t} {+h} Block, Koramangala.

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