Sacred Music

Segment: Sacred Music

Dates: 5th October

Venue: Stein Auditorium, India Habitat Centre

Time 7 p.m.

Artist: Aruna Sairam

South India’s most celebrated classical vocalist Aruna Sairam is now regarded as a music ambassador of India taking Indian music to the global arena. On Republic day January 26, 2009, she was awarded the prestigious Padma Shri.

Her appearances throughout the world include Carnegie Hall in New York, Le Theatre de la Ville in Paris, the Festival of World Sacred Music in Morocco, and the Music Academy in Chennai. She has collaborated with internationally renowned artists including Dominique Vellard, the French master of Gregorian chant, and Christian Bollmann of Germany, as well as with A grade North Indian musicians.

She has also participated in several international festivals and series, including the Spirit of Fes, which toured the US in the fall of 2006; in this tour, she collaborated with eminent American musicians.

Sairam is one of the most renowned and beloved representatives of Carnatic vocal music – a style that is rooted in the devotional songs and music from the temples of South India. In her long concert career she has developed a distinctive style, which is based in tradition while remaining open to influences from other fields.

Her numerous recordings include the recent Divine Inspiration on the World Village/ Harmonia Mundi USA label. Ms Sairam has been featured on several albums. Of these, five have been produced and distributed in Europe, most of them in France.

She is doing yeoman service to India by unifying the different linguistic and regional cultures. She is an eminent cultural ambassador of our country, the world over.

Apart from her collaborative work with Dominique Vellard entitled “Sources”, Ms Sairam has released a very innovative album in Germany with musicians Christian Bollman and Michael Reimann entitled ” Aruna : Thousand Names of the Divine Mother”, containing sacred chants (from the well-known Lalitha Sahasranamam) layered with a panoply of sounds not traditionally associated with Indian Classical Music. This album too met with rave reviews and has been circulated very widely among musicians in Europe.

Sairam’s tone has been described to have a rich, vibrant timbre that though powerful, has the tantalizing capacity to seem intimate, as though she is singing for each individual seated in the audience.

She was born in Mumbai into a family with a deep love of music. Her mother, the singer Smt. Rajalakshmi Sethuraman, was her first teacher in the art of Carnatic music of South India. Her father, a music connoisseur, received the greatest musicians and dancers from northern and southern India in his home. It was in this propitious atmosphere, which was fundamental to the development of her art, that Ms. Sairam met Sangita Kalanidhi Smt. T. Brinda, who trained her in the style of her own mentor, the great Veena Dhanammal, one of the most outstanding figures in Carnatic music. Ms. Sairam also studied with Veena Vidwan Sri. K. S. Narayanaswamy.

She is the recipient of several major Indian classical music titles and awards, including the highly coveted Sangita Choodamani and Kalaimamani. Ms Sairam has been appointed by the Chief Minister of the Indian State of Tamil Nadu as adviser to the Department of Culture, Tamil Nadu, on Musical Education.

Sairam’s concerts play to packed houses, an occurrence that is rare for classical music. Each event is special, marked with rare poise and an equally moving emotive vibration that endears her to her audiences.

She has had the rare distinction of performing in venues such as Indian President’s official residence Rashtrapati Bhavan. She has also performed across the length and breadth of the country, bringing the richness of South Indian classical music to people from all walks of life.

Segment: Sacred Music

Dates: 5th October

Venue: Stein Auditorium, India Habitat Centre

Time 7 p.m.

Artist: Bhai Baldeep Singh (Gurbani in medieval Dhrupad style)

Bhai Baldeep Singh has descended from a long tradition of masters of the Gurbāni Kīrtan maryada, and today is the 13th generation exponent of this hallowed tradition. His pilgrimage began with intensive meditation on the classical shabad-ritaan taught to him by his granduncles, Bhai Gurcharan Singh and Bhai Avtar Singh, who themselves were savants of Gurbāni Kīrtan tradition.

The vast knowledge that they bequeathed to Bhai Baldeep Singh included masterpieces that were first composed by the Sikh Gurus themselves. From the highly distinguished and eminent Bhai Arjan Singh ‘Tarangar’, he learnt the system (silsila) of pakhawaj/mridang playing known as Amritsari Baaj. Today, Bhai Baldeep Singh is the prime exponent (khalifa) of this gharana of classical percussions of Punjab.

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