Vizag Art & Culture Review
06th December, 2004
35th Annual Music and Dance Festival 

The Visakha Music Academy (VMA), a premier cultural organisation serving the cause of classical music and dance since 1969, celebrated the 35th Annual Music and Dance Festival, from the 26th of November, 2004 to the 2nd of December, 2004 at Kala Bharati Auditorium.

Visakha Music Academy (VMA) received accolades for its dedication towards the cultural heritage of India, uncompromising love and respect for traditional art forms and unrelenting commitment to promote budding talents through a series of concerts.

Day 1: - The 35th Annual Music and Dance Festival was inaugurated by veteran musician 'Sangita Kalanidhi' Sri Nedunuri Krishnamurthi. He said that the need of the hour is to propagate the sacred art forms. Dr. T.V. Sai Ram, I.R.S., Chief Patron of VMA along with Prof. A. Prasanna Kumar, President VMA, graced the occasion.

The concert presented by the 'Priya sisters', Smt. Shanmukha Priya and Smt. Hari Priya, was ably supported by violinist Sri. M. A. Krishna Swamy, Sri. P. Satish Kumar on the Mridangam and Sri. Madipakkam Murali on the Ghatam. Revealing their prowess, the artistes made the evening truly memorable. The pattern followed at the concert exhibited their rich repertoire and tradition. The accompanying artistes followed suit in a befitting manner. The concert was sponsored by Cargo Handling Workers Pool, Visakhapatnam.

Day 2: - The prestigious title 'Sangita Kala Saagara' was conferred on veteran violinist Sri. M. Chandrasekharan from Chennai, with a gold medal and citation by the VMA members. The artiste was felicitated by Sri Suresh Darbala, Manager Hy-Grade Pellets Limited, Visakhapatnam (sponsor of the programme). The felicitation was followed by a violin concert by the artiste and a true traditional approach comprising exquisite compositions of musical trinity was displayed. He took the audience to melodious heights of musical ecstasy. Smt. G. Bharathi on the violin, veteran Mridangam player Sri. Mullapudi Srirama Murty and AIR staffer Sri. K. Jnananandam on Kanjira, added charm to the concert that evening.

Day 3: - An enlightening lecture-demonstration session by Dr. T. V. Sairam, I.R.S., regarding the aesthetic sense of music, during the morning session was truly electrifying. He effortlessly lead the gathering from simple to complex notes of Nada (sound) and also co-related the various aspects, which were demonstrated by vocalist Dr. Meeta Sarcar and Dr. N. Krishnaveni on the Veena.

The evening session hosted yet another feast for the ears for the music lovers of the city. Dr. Sriram Parasuram in the company of Smt. Anooradha Sriram of Chennai thrilled the gathering with a combination of Carnatic and Hindustani music. The couple presented the similar and contrasting features of the Carnatic and Hindustani music in a pleasing manner by highlighting the melodic characteristics of the ragas. Ace violinist Sri. Komanduri Venkata Krishnaa, mridangam player Sri. P. Satish Kumar, Hamronium player Sri Vinay Pathankar and Sri. B. Srikanth on tabla, enriched the presentation. Critics and audience alike appreciated the presentation. The State Bank of India, Personal Banking Branch, MVP Colony and Visakhapatnam, sponsored the programme.

Day 4: - Vocal duet by one of the eminent artistes of the city, Smt. Indira Kameswara Rao and her daughter Smt. Sarala Lakshminarayana in the company of AIR Vizag staffer Sri. N.C. Madhav on violin, AIR Vijayawada staffer Sri. K. Sadguru Charan on mridangam, received a round of thunderous applause from the gathering.

Day 5: - It was another important day as the world renowned mridangam artiste Prof. Yella Venkateswara Rao was conferred the Academy's title 'Sangita Kala Saagara'. The award was presented by Sri. Dronamraju Satyanaraya, MLA (Visakha-1). The evening witnessed a rare combination of stringed, wind, percussion, metal and electronic instruments presenting a jugalbandi in Carnatic and Hindustani music. Prof.Yella Venkateswara Rao led the troupe on mridangam (he has also rendered vocal music) and was supported by Sri. M. Anantha Krishna on flute, Sri. Nanda Kumar on sitar, Sri. K. Srinivasa Rao on kanjira and morsing, Sri. G. Venkata Rao on ghatam, Sri. Guruvilli Durga Rao on thavil, Sri. Premendra Singh on tabla and Dr. D. Tyagaraj on the keyboard.

35th Annual Festival for Visakha Music Academy 35th Annual Festival for Visakha Music Academy 35th Annual Festival for Visakha Music Academy
Prof. Yella Venkateswara Rao playing the mridangam The jugalbandi concert by VMA Mridangam artiste Prof. Yella Venkateswara Rao being conferred with the 'Sangita Kala Saagara'

Day 6: - Vocal Concert by Sri. Sanjay Subrahmanyam, from Chennai was the piece de resistance. Blessed with a rich voice and enriched by repertoire, the artist struck the right notes with a balanced approach towards the kritis of Subbaraya Sastry, Muthuswamy Dikshitar, Syama Sastry, Tyagaraja, while the Kalpana swara patterns cast a magical spell on the audience. Excellent support on violin by Sri. M.S. Narasimha Murthy, Sri. V.V. Ramana Murthy on mridangam (both Staffers of AIR, Vizag) and Sri. N. Somayajulu on ghatam, provided a much-delighted impact on one and all.

Day 7: - On the concluding day of the 35th Annual Music and Dance Festival, group Bharathanatyam 'Shivam Shankaram' and 'Sri Rama Jayam' by 'Bharatanjali' featuring artistes of 'Nrityakalamandiram' of Bangalore, directed by Kum. B. Bhanumati, totally enchanted the music and dance lovers. Adhering to the Vazhavur style of Bharathanatyam, the guru and her troupe comprising Sheela Chandrasekhar, Snehasri Srinivas, Savitha Josephine, Geetha Narayanaswamy, Mamatha Karan, and Savitha gracefully put forth the presentation with amazing precision and synchronized their movements aptly. The expressive movements with meaningful choreography and sensible jati cross-rhythmic patterns combined with commendable orchestral support by Sri. D. S. Srivatsa on vocal, Sri. R. Srihari on mridangam, Sri. N.K. Narasimhamurthy on flute (who was exceptionally good in portraying the raga bhava throughout the concert) and nattuvangam by Sri Chandrasekhar, has left an everlasting memory which would linger on the minds of art lovers of Vizag forever.

The credit for conducting such a memorable concert would go to the Visakha Music Academy (VMA) members who have spared no efforts to make the function a grand success. Special note of appreciation to Prof. A. Prasanna Kumar, President, VMA, and Sri. M.S. Srinivas, Secretary, VMA, Sri. Sripada Venkanna and Dr. Perala Balamuralikrishna, who has poetically summarised the concerts throughout.

Dr Dwaram Tyagaraj