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Isai Velvi 2008 kick-starts
CHENNAI, August 15: The three-day `Isai Velvi 2008’ , a maiden event of Ghatam V. Suresh-promoted the International Society for Laya Awareness (ISLA) , begins at Raga Sudha Hall, Luz Avenue, Mylapore, this afternoon. Veteran flautist N. Ramani will inaugurate the event. Senior mridangam artiste T.V. Gopalakrishnan will preside over the function.

"Isai Velvi" is a unique concept, adopted on the lines of the 20:20 cricket format of IPL (Indian Premier League).

The objective of this is to identify musical talents among youngsters, provide opportunity for them to demonstrate their musical prowess and escort the eventual winners to the concert platform.

There are certain guidelines for aspiring participants vis-a-vis age, concert format and the duration of each kutcheri. The winners will be given certificates. The International Society for Laya Awareness will also sound out the sabhas in the city on the musical talent of the winners. Further, the winners will also be given an opportunity by the Society to participate in its December concert series. Sudha Jagannathan got a few participants to share their views on the programme.

A platform to explore
Shreya Devnath: I see this event as an encouragement to music aspirants like me. I look for an opportunity to explore my strengths and weaknesses and also learn from the other performers. I am participating in this competition to make the most of such opportunities. I am 17-years old. I am a first year student at Stella Maris College in Chennai. I have been learning to play the violin for the past six years from Padmabhushan Sri Lalgudi G. Jayaraman. My maiden concert took place on September 30, 2007 at Sri Krishna Gana Sabha, as part of the Gokulashtami series. For this, I was awarded the Jayammal Chari Memorial Prize. I am passionate about Carnatic music and hope to take it up as a profession. My other interest is poetry. I was the 2nd runner up in the Classmate Young Author Contest 2006, a nation-wide story writing competition conducted by ITC. Musical environment at home got me interested in Carnatic Music. My inspiration is my guru.

A great opening
N. Jayakrishnan: I consider this event to be a great opening for me. I have sung in some small sabhas and temples. I believe this competition would help me to get more recognition. I am participating in this event with no pre-conceived notions. I wish this program provides me something memorable. I consider myself lucky to perform under a vidwan like Shri V.Suresh. I am participating in this event mainly to acquire more knowledge, and also to understand where I am in terms of music. I am doing my B.Sc (visual communications)in Loyola. I am learning Carnatic music under Sri Ajay Nambudiri (a disciple of Shri Neyveli Santhangopalan). I had learnt mridangam from Shri Karaikudi Mani for a few years. I have some interest in art & paintings. I have done a couple of art exhibitions. I am more a rasika than a student of Carnatic music.

Jayakrishnan
For, what you hear is more than what you learn and you learn more from what you hear. I had started learning Carnatic music when I was four. I developed a love for hearing Carnatic music. Moreover, my grandma late Smt Santha Vasudevan was a music teacher and was my greatest source of inspiration for music. She was a source of knowledge and guidance, apart from being my Guru. My parents are my other source of support.
A learning opportunity
Kalaimagan: According to Mrs. Bharathi Tirumagan (daughter of villupattu isai kalignar Subbu Arumugam), her son Kalaimagan has been learning Carnatic music since he was three year old. In the formative years, it was she who had taught him music.

Later, Kalaimagan has come under the tutelage of Nagamani Nagarajan of Andhra Pradesh. Mrs. Bharathi felt that pronunciation was very important in vocal singing. For instance, saint Tyagaraja’s kritis are mostly in Telugu. Hence, she put her son under Nagamani Nagarajan. Mrs. Bharathi herself has learnt Veena, Harmonium and Keyboard. She is also an adept in villupattu. This has inspired Kalaimagan to a large extent to concentrate on music. He is now sixteen-years old. He has participated in many competitions run by Tamil television channels such as Sun TV (pattukku pattu), RaJ TV and Mega TV serial as celebrity artiste and won prizes. His manasika guru is Carnatic doyen M.S.Subbulakshmi. He had also performed at Kanchi Mutt and blessed by the Paramacharya. Mrs. Bharathi showered rich praise on Ghatam Suresh for conducting a programme for students. She was confident that this would prepare the participating students to present a concert with confidence. Kalaimagan is very eager to participate in the contest and is looking to learn a few important lessons from the programme.