Sunday, July 5, 2009

Lively debut Kutcheri by Kuwait’s Raghavi Vishwanath

Late on Saturday evening, one wondered if the un-seasonal rains in Chennai would force the organisers to postpone the maiden kutcheri of Raghavi Vishwanath, a class 8 student of Delhi Public School, Kuwait.

Thankfully, and much to the relief of the morning walkers at the Nageswara Rao Park, the rain Gods stayed away on Sunday morning. By 6am, there was a buzz around the Chess quadrangle. There was a neat flower decoration.

Raghavi, along with her Guru, had reached in early for her debut Kutcheri at the Sunday Kutcheri in the Park organised by Sundaram Finance. A few of her relatives had also come in to watch the teenager perform in this open air, mikeless kutcheri.

A cloudy morning, the chirping of birds, a nice breeze and an audience that sat just a few yards away - It was a setting Raghavi had not experienced before. However, she did not seem at all to be over whelmed. In fact, this seemed to bring out the best in her. Raghavi displayed great composure and a cool attitude that speaks volumes about her confidence levels.

630am - Mrs. Malini Vishwanath, Guru of Raghavi welcomed the audience and introduced Raghavi and the songs she was going to present today.

Guru introducing Raghavi
Accompanied by Sriram Sridhar (Disciple of Smt. Padma Shankar) on the Violin and by Sumesh Narayanan (Disciple of Shri. Tiruvarur Bhaktavatsalam) on the Mridangam, Raghavi started with the varnams that seemed to lure the morning walkers, with some of them cuting short their walk to position themselves around the artiste to listen in to the 13 year old present her first ever kutcheri.

Hard Work pays off
The hard work put in by Raghavi and her Guru was clearly visible. Her kutcheri was much appreciated by the audience. Her presentation of Saravana Bhava Ghambeera Natta, a new composition of Kolaigaal Subramanyam received rapturous applause from the morning walkers at Nageswara Rao Park. Some of the other songs presented by Raghavi were Sreeman Narayana (Annamacharya), Bhuvaneshwariya (Mohana-Kalyani), Maru-Balka(Thayagaraja-Sri Ranjani) and ThiruPugazh(Aruna Girinathan).

After her debut kutcheri, Raghavi said, ‘The mikeless kutcheri is very challenging for the artiste. I found out today that it truly tests out the voice quality of the performer and the ability to reach out to the audience. I enjoyed this experience.’

Mrs. Malini Vishwanath, mother and Guru of Raghavi said, ‘It is a good and a challenging platform for young talent. Anyone would be deeply honoured to be part of the Sunday Kutcheri in the Park.’

On the mikeless kutcheri concept, Mrs. Malini said, ‘Every voice has a genetic quality. One cannot go beyond the domain. We had worked, in preparation for this kutcheri, for almost 6 months. I think Raghavi was her natural self this morning and enjoyed presenting the kutcheri in front of the park audience.’

Presence of Guru's Guru

The Sunday Kutcheri in the park also brought back nostalgic memories for Mrs. Malini Vishwanath with the presence at the kutcheri of her first Guru Smt. Kamala Narayanan, from whom she learnt the basics of carnatic music in Ahmedabad.

Fourth Overseas Artiste
Raghavi is the fourth overseas artiste to perform at the mikeless Kutcheri at Nageswara Rao Park. Students from the US and Dubai have earlier presented mikeless Kutcheri at the Park. Co-incidentally, the mother of Arul Priya, who was the first overseas artiste to perform at the Sunday Kutcheri 2 years ago, was also present on the occasion to encourage Raghavi in her maiden performance.

Keeping up Chennai’s tradition

Despite being based out of Kuwait for the last 10 years, Raghavi, with her lively performance, show cased to everyone this morning that distance need not necessarily be a constraint, especially if one had the inclination and the passion to learn carnatic music.

T. T. Srinivasaraghavan, Managing Director, Sundaram Finance Ltd., presented certificates and mementos to the performing artistes.

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