Diaspora Tamil to perform at The Proms

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 27 July 2011, 04:46 GMT]
A young Diaspora Tamil will perform Wednesday evening alongside leading South Indian vocalist Aruna Sairam at the first Carnatic concert as part of the BBC Proms. Veena virtuoso Hari Sivanesan, the latest recipient of the BBC Radio 3 World Routes Academy, is a student of Smt Sivasakthi Sivanesan, one of the UK's foremost Carnatic figures, and is mentored by Aruna Sairam, widely regarded as the leading South Indian female vocalist of her generation. Whilst Sivanesan was at university, Sitar Maestro Ravi Shankar invited him to tour with his forty concert "Festival of India" tour throughout the States. The Proms, considered the world’s greatest classical music festival is underway in London's Royal Albert Hall.

Hari, whose parents are from Jaffna, began his training at the age of eight, and was groomed by Smt Sivasakthi Sivanesan at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan from age ten. He performed his arangetram (his first solo stage performance) at thirteen.

Hari began touring with his guru across Europe, and when he was seventeen she guided him to study under one of her own Gurus, Smt Kalpakam Swaminathan, and he underwent more than six months intense training in India.

In April this year Hari retraced his family's roots in Jaffna, and to see how music is faring there today, for 2011 World Routes Academy, a BBC Radio 3 initiative.

The resulting program was broadcast last Saturday. It is available for the rest of this week.

The BBC’s program description follows:

“Making the tricky journey to Northen Sri Lanka, along the bumpy A9 highway flanked by military checkpoints and gun posts, Lucy Duran and Hari Sivanesan head to the lively town of Jaffna, where Hari lived briefly as a baby before spending the rest of his life in London. They visit a riotous Temple Chariot Festival as the country celebrates New Year, and Hari meets and plays with one of the foremost performers in the Carnatic tradition, violinist Radakrishnan.

“They watch a performance by a troupe of Vasanthan Koothu dancers, who have not been able to return to their village because of the strict military control over certain High Security Zones, and are now the sole custodians of this rural song and dance tradition. As night draws in, Hari and Lucy meet with a group of women who sing a disappearing lullaby tradition, and who also sing mourning songs. The painful reality is that each of the women has lost a husband or a son in the civil conflict that tore the country apart, and as they talk they perform these heart rending laments bringing Sri Lankas recent past into sharp focus.

 

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