SUNADA PRAVAHAM or a Cascade of Music was an orchestral presentation of Carnatic music exploring different ragas. It was presented at the Singapore Arts Festival, 2004, organised by the Singapore National Arts Council recently. The festival, held once in two years, had 300 performances by several music and dance ensembles from various countries of the world. India was represented by a group of 22 instrumentalists. They were trained by Lalgudi G.J.R. Krishnan, who also conducted the orchestra which comprised veena, violin, flute, clarionet, saxophone, sitar, nagaswaram, mridangam, tavil, ghatam, and tabla. The keyboard and drums were present to heighten the effect. Four pieces `Raga Kannada,' `Raga Shanmukhapriya,' `Raga Priyadarshini' and `Raga Revathi' were composed by violin maestro Lalgudi Jayaraman, while `Raga Kosalam' was composed by Krishnan, retaining the purity of Carnatic music. ``It was an interesting effort as one could explore the tone, timbre, range and colour of various string, wind and percussion instruments," said Lalgudi Jayaraman. ``Individuality of instruments, tonal variations and gamakas were demanding and gamakas had to be standardised," said Krishnan. ``Each artiste was a good soloist, but they put their heart and soul into the presentation without any ego clash. The synergic effect was phenomenal," he added. ``There was freedom within that framework," observed Jayaraman.
Krishnan trained the local artistes here and then went to Singapore to train the musicians there. Of course the entire team had rehearsals. The artistes were provided with all the facilities and the acoustics was excellent. The sound manager H. Sridhar, described as A.R. Rahman's `right hand,' was a great asset. The musicians were professional but functioned like one family."
Before the performance began Lalgudi Jayaraman was felicitated and honoured by Liu Thai Kher, CEO of the Singapore National Arts Council. The response to the programme was very good with around 1,000 people, both Indians and Chinese, attending the concert, quite good for a week day. During their visit Lalgudi Jayaraman and N. Ramani conducted master classes and listened to some young Carnatic musicians of that country to assess their standard and to advise and encourage them.
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