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What I love about the mridangam

Mridangam is an Indian classical instrument that is believed to have originated in South India, very early on in history. It is a sacred instrument of Hinduism and is played by many Hindu gods, including Ganesha and Nandi. Although the Mridangam is a very popular instrument back home in India, many kids now a days are straying away from the ideal Indian and are trying to become more of an “American”. It is important to be American, but that doesn’t mean that we have to give up our heritage. There needs to be a resurgence of the classical Indian arts, and that needs to begin with the kannadigan youth. I myself play the mridangam, but I am only few in a land of many. Mridangam has had a very positive influence on my life. Through Mridangam, I have become more socially connected with the community, such as when I go to cultural programs to perform. Going to a program is not just for playing there, but also to interact with others. Also, Mridangam has taught me discipline, determination, and time management skills. By following the tala, or time scale, I have learned to be patient and to follow a set pattern. By constantly trying harder and harder to perfect a new lesson, or a complicated variation, I have learned to never give up. By making sure that I save time everyday just for practicing ( or most days), I have learned to organize my life. Though Mridangam may only be a small aspect of my life, it has had a broader influence that has helped me establish many of my morals. On a lighter note, being a mridangist has its benefits. There is always an aura of respect that I receive when I walk into a cultural function and I am allowed to skip the line when getting food. Mridangam is not only just serious, and should not be taken too seriously. I have met many of my friends from Mridangam class, and still keep in touch with them today, though I do not see them in class anymore. Overall, Mridangam will greatly enhance the abilities of yourself, and of the young ones in your family, and I would highly recommend that the youth of the Kannadigans in New York start looking into not only mridangam, but other aspects of Indian classical music.

Written by Nakul Rao

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My life in carnatic music

I have been learning music for about six years now, and I will try to share how it began and how I decided to take a plunge into the sweet world of music. My journey started a long time ago and I am yet to reach my goal. Or will I? What is my goal? Where do I see myself in this vast ocean? Let’s skip all the minor details and jump straight on to where I am now…

So far, I have learned swaravali varsai, upper sthayi varsai, janti varsai, 13 geethas, 3 swarajathis, and am now in my first varnam. Also, simultaneously, I have nearly finished 40 kritis, which is great progress, 7 kritis per year, as well as the initial lessons, which is everything I learned other than the kritis. Out of the kritis I learned, a majority were from Sri Tyagaraja. Not only did singing change my life, it also changed my personality. I have sung at approximately 20 concerts and have learned a lot from them. Firstly, when I started performing, I was in a rush to get of the stage, because I felt really shy. After my first few concerts, I realized that I enjoyed performing and showing people that I can sing. To go even further, Nakul Rao started accompanying me with his mrudangam for almost every concert. After my 10th concert, I also realized that even the audience enjoyed our concerts. Singing changed my perception of performing.

You may ask: How did you start singing? Well, magical determination. Not really magical, but that is just a way of saying that I was devoted to singing. When I was 5 years old, my mother introduced me to carnatic music, in India. I learned carnatic music for a year before I returned. When I came back to U.S, I learned the basics of Sangeetha from Smt. Ranganayaki Srinivasan. Then I started learning from Smt. Sumathy Haran, known to me as “Sumathi Aunty.” I owe all my thanks to Sumathi Aunty, who has given me most of the musical knowledge I know. I have been learning from her for 5 years. She has taught me all the way from Swaravali varsai to varnams. Also, out of the 40 kritis I know, I have learned 35 from her. I also owe my thanks to my parents, who encouraged me to sing. All-in-all, all I have to say is that singing has changed many aspects of my life in a positive way, and I feel that I was born to sing.

Written by Ankith Kumar

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ಕನ್ನಡ ಚುಟುಕ

ಕನ್ನಡವಿರಲಿ ಕಣಕಣವೂ
ಕನ್ನಡ ಬೆಳೆಸಿ ಕ್ಷಣಕ್ಷಣವೂ
ಕಂಕಣತೊಟ್ಟ ಅಂಕಣವೆಲ್ಲವೂ
ಕಿಣಿಕಿಣಿ ಎನ್ನಲಿ ಅನುದಿನವೂ

ಕನ್ನಡವಿರಲಿ ಕಣಕಣವೂ
ಕನ್ನಡ ಬೆಳೆಸಿ ಕ್ಷಣಕ್ಷಣವೂ
ಕಂಕಣತೊಟ್ಟ ಅಂಕಣವೆಲ್ಲವೂ
ಕಿಣಿಕಿಣಿ ಎನ್ನಲಿ ಅನುದಿನವೂ

Written by Asha Melkote

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