Realm of Rhythms

One is a child prodigy, who, along with his brother, blossomed into one of the most respected violinists in the country. The other, with his sheer humility and on-stage presence, has enthralled audiences across the globe. The two artistes in discussion are violinist Mysore Manjunath and Carnatic music composer and vocalist TN Seshagopalan, who will be performing in the city today.

An interesting aspect about the popularisation of Indian classical music in the West lies in the fact that it has always been associated with spirituality and devotion. The artistes have worked towards depicting the deep-rooted connection of these factors with Indian music. "The popularity of our music depends on the way we portray our music to the world," says Manjunath. He has been performing since the tender age of eight and attributes his success to his strict father. As children, his brother Mysore Nagaraj and he never understood why they had to stay indoors and practice the violin while others their age were playing outdoors. "Our father had a deeper and grander vision for us - to be able to take Carnatic music, using a western classical music instrument, to all the corners of the world. To showcase how music and musical instruments have no boundaries when it comes to performing," he smiles.

The spotlight will be on these artistes at the fourth edition of the Carnatic Music festival 'Dakshinayan' at the Yashwantrao Chavan auditorium today. Seshagopalan, who is a Padma Bhushan awardee, is performing in the city after a long hiatus. He is an accomplished veena player and also plays Carnatic music on the keyboards too. Coming to the interesting point of how Carnatic music has so easily been able to mould other instruments to its style, Manjunath says, "It is this connect that musicians both in the East and the West were hunting for, to be able to seamlessly merge music. Carnatic music allows for this easy merger simply because there are no distinctions in it. And that is what western musicians love so much about the country and the music here. It is a feeling that allows a person to forget all worldly problems and experience new realms of tranquility. Carnatic music is all that and more."

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