7-day Residential Workshop in Carnatic Music

A 7-day Carnatic music residential workshop was organised by the Bharata Society of CVV under the guidance of Dr. PN Prabhavathy, Assistant Professor in Carnatic Vocal, School of Kalayoga, CVV, from 24 to 30th May 2024 . The camp aimed at introducing students to Varnam in the most complicated Tala among the sapta tala-s and also boost other performance areas. There were 11 participants from various parts of Kerala.

Every day began with Yoga at 6:00 am conducted by Mr. Narayan Beben Shete, Assistant Professor, School of Linguistics and Literary Studies, CVV. The Yoga classes reiterated the need for singers to incorporate exercise into their routine. Most singers tend to ignore the physical aspects of performance such as breathing, posture, and stamina.

The yoga session was followed by ‘Sādhakam’ session from 06:30 am to 07:30 am, where vocal exercises were taught. Variśai-s, Alankaaram-s and other vocal exercises at various speeds (including tiśram) were practised with rigour. After a nutritious breakfast, classes with a focus on Varnam were held from 09:30 am to 01:00 pm. Polishing already learnt Varnam-s with the application of Gamaka-s, learning new Varnam in Ata Talam—the most complicated Tala in Carnatic Music, and learning Kriti-s of Maharaja Swati Tirunal, Puthucode Krishnamurthy Bhagavatar were a remarkable attraction for the students. Every student received individual attention on every aspect of singing including Śruti, Tālam, sitting posture, voice projection, voice modulation and the nuances specific to the Rāgam.

After the lunch break, the students rested and participated in group practice. The evening sessions were held from 04:30 pm to 07:00 pm. Bhajans by Sadasiva Brahmendra, Jayadevar Ashtapadi, Kathakali padam from Kuchelavrutham, Tillana by Dr. M. Balamuralikrishna were taught. Students learned various musical forms in raga-s like Mohanam, Hamsadhwani, Natta, Arabhi, Sri, Mukhari, Kurinji and Brindavani. These sessions were handled by Dr. P. N. Prabhavathy.

The evening sessions concluded with Satsang from 07:00 pm to 08:00 pm. There were five Satsang sessions which were taken by Swami Avyayananda, Acharya of Chinmaya Mission, New Delhi, Prof. Gauri Mahulikar, Academic Director, Chinmaya International Foundation, Swamini Devaki Chaitanya, CIF, Ms. Harsha M. Pillai, Assistant Professor, School of Linguistics and Literary Studies, CVV, and Brahmachari Ved Chaitanya, resident brahmachari, CIF.

The camp concluded with a valedictory function. Dr. P. N. Prabhavathy welcomed the gathering. This was followed by a performance by the students. As he could not attend the valedictory programme in person, Prof. Ajay Kapoor, Vice Chancellor of CVV, sent a written message. He appreciated how the camp was designed and planned. He also expressed his gladness that some participants are those who attended the Varna Malika-1 programme in 2023.  Shri. N. M. Sundar, Managing Trustee, presented the valedictory address. Prof. Dr. Manjula Iyer, Assistant Dean and Professor, School of Contemporary Knowledge Systems and Shri. Ananthanarayan Iyer, the Chief Coordinating Officer, gave felicitation speeches.

In the feedback session, the students and parents expressed their eagerness and willingness to attend more such camps on Carnatic music at CVV. The camp concluded with a vote of thanks, by Mr. Pratheep Kumar, Assistant Professor, School of Contemporary Knowledge Systems.