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Music students make a beeline for "Svanubhava"for a holistic experience
CHENNAI, August 5: Call it a festival of music, a melting pot of ideas or simply a conducive platform for students to see and hear music and interact with music all day! Any which way one sees, Svanubhava- the brain child of Bombay Jayashri and T M Krishna, two renowned Carnatic vocalists- is indeed designed to provide Generation Next a holistic experience in music and related art forms.

This, in turn, should go a long way in inspiring these young minds to strengthen their moorings in music and move ahead with greater conviction in themselves and the art form.

The six-day-long event begins on August 5. Mooted by Matrka and co-hosted by Youth Association for Cultural Music, it is an attempt to create a forum for aspiring musicians to learn and experience more under a single roof.

If music and dance festivals are aplenty in the city of Chennai, Svanubhava is one with a difference. Unlike a "sabha" which organizes festivals for the public, Svanubhava is "a mission with a long-term objective, helping the next generation to contribute and inspire,'' says T.M. Krishna.

Svanubhava is also an effort to weave the rich past with the present. Audio bytes and movie reels will take the students back in time and experience the music of legends like T.N. Rajarathinam Pillai, Madurai Mani Iyer, Maharajapuram Vishvanatha Iyer and more. Interspersed with concerts by senior performing artistes like T. N. Seshagopalan, N. Vijay Siva, Sudha Raghunathan and S. Sowmya, to name some, the question-answer sessions will make the event more fun-filled and interactive.

"While most of the ideas emanated from the students themselves, we only helped them fine tune it. Besides, we have youth presentations everyday at the festival," adds Jayashri. Both Krishna and Jayashri hold the view that the present generation is intelligent and capable. "Svanubhava will add to their courage and passion to pursue the art and hold out into the future," they reckon. In fact, even before the curtains rose on the festival, there have been enquiries from other cities, too.

Svanubhava - a music event for the students by the students – is a unique first-of-its-kind initiative in that it offers a complete `music anubhavam' under one platform. The entire festival is conceived, choreographed and articulated by the student community of three major institutions. The festival is spread across three locations in the city - Tamil Nadu Government Music College, Kalakshetra and the Music Academy Music College. And, it promises to provide the participants a grand musical feast.

A cross-section of students interviewed by is very upbeat about the musical festival. Svanubhava has certainly generated quite an expectation. The organizers are confident that the festival will offer something or the other for all participants to take home. Here are some views.

S. Sandhya, a student of P.B. Shrirangachari: I have always been looking forward for an occasion like this, where there would be a confluence of students of music, especially of classical and Carnatic. It could be an ideal platform for meeting of minds and exchange of ideas and views. More over, it gives us a unique opportunity to hear different styles of performances (distinctly different patanthrams of various guru paramparas).This would help us observe and absorb some superior moorchas and sangadhis pertinent to different ragas. In turn, it will also help us imbibe our unique style of singing in the traditional manner followed by Gurus. By listening to the concerts and lecdems of stalwarts at Svanubhava festival, I am looking forward to hone my performing skills. I am also looking forward for some tips vis-a-vis the choice of items for a concert, the order of their rendition, the sequencing of ragas to be sung, the place of manodharma in the concert, time management, handling the laya intricacies and much more.

I am also hoping that the festival would throw some light on rare compositions and composers, their history etc. I am expecting to come out richer knowledge-wise post-Svanubhava festival.

Navaneet Venkatesan, a disciple of P.B. Shrirangachari and Radha Viswanathan: I feel that Svanubhava is a unique exercise and will prove to be a wonderful platform for young musicians/students to understand themselves, thus understanding their music better, enabling them to create music of a higher quality. True music is a reflection of who we are. I am sure this programme will help us move closer to a complete understanding (sampurna pajna) of music in all its aspects. I am looking forward to listening to stalwarts at close quarters.

I hope, wish and pray that Svanubhava grows into a regular feature that will allow future generations of musicians to experience the vast ocean of eternal bliss that our music represents.

K. Swaminathan, a student of Poongulam Subramaniam: I look forward to the festival, as it is an opportunity for me to see and listen to music exponents under one banner. The lecdems, films and music listening sessions will help me observe various styles in Carnatic music. As a percussion artist, I am looking to sharpen my performing skills and, more importantly, know what I lack and where I need to improve. I hope to get useful inputs on important elements for a percussion artist - spontaneity on stage, the techniques to prepare for playing a Pallavi, appropriate accompanying on the mridangam to enhance the overall aural tone and laya of the concert. I also hope the festival will help me understand the rhythmic nuances while singing "padams" and "javalis", which are hardly demonstrated in concerts. I hope to see (through the movies they plan to screen) how the stalwarts (like Karaikudi Mani Iyer) performed, what kind of hard work they put in and their techniques in playing that made them distinct exponents. With three big institutions coming together on one platform, I will get the opportunity to meet and interact with other colleagues in the field. I am hopeful that there would be enough interaction among all of us and there will be some inspirational question-answer sessions.

Bhavani Natarajan, a student of P.B. Shrirangachari: I enrolled myself for this programme as I am keen to learn more about padams and javalis and their significance in the Carnatic music repertoire. More importantly, I am hopeful of gaining insight into neraval singing - how to break syllables in the appropriate places while also ensuring it sounds good. Through my participation in the event, I also wish to widen my circle of friends in the music field.