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Kala-Samvada: A Conversation on Art with Distinguished Musicians

The second session of ‘Kala Samvada-Conversations on Art’, held on 11 September 2020, had the Santoor maestro Padma Vibhushan Pt. Shiv Kumar Sharma in conversation with renowned musician, actor, director and multifaceted personality Padma Shri Shekhar Sen.

The conversation started with the unfolding of Pandit Shivkumar’s early years of learning music when he emphasised upon the importance of a Guru in music. The questions by Shri Shekhar and later by the participants, helped to understand Pandit Shivkumar’s thoughts on creativity, pedagogy, innovation, and the true purpose of music. His suggestion to take up music as a spiritual pursuit was an important and inspiring one for the new generation of artists, many of whom look at music from the commercial angle alone.



A report of the event was published in a Marathi daily 'Sakal'.

On 28 August 2020, the School of Kalayoga launched a fortnightly series called ‘Kala Samvada—Conversations on Art’, under CVV’s ‘Open Learning for All (OLA)’ initiative. Coordinated by Assistant. Professor Dr. P. N. Prabhavathy, the idea behind this initiative is to bring art and the living legends of art to our drawing rooms. It is meant to provide the general public with an opportunity to get a closer look at our traditional art forms, listen to and interact with great artistes and thereby inspire youngsters and aspirants to appreciate them. The success stories of world-renowned artists could prompt children to choose art as a career option too.

The opening session, showcasing mridangam maestro Dr. Patri Satish Kumar was a lecture-demonstration on ‘Percussion Skills for Music and Dance’. The series was inaugurated by Swami Sharadananda, Acharya at the Kerala Sandeepany and was presided over by CVV’s Vice Chancellor Prof. Nagaraj Neerchal. Dean Prof. Gauri Mahulikar, Sri Swapnil Chaphekar, Assistant Professor and Head of the School of Kalayoga, Smt. Pramodini Rao, Campus Director of CNBG, Pune, were present. The session was anchored by Shri Srinath Mohandas, Assistant Professor, School of Contemporary Knowledge Systems.

In this lec-dem, Dr. Patri provided exhaustive information starting with the origins of Mridangam as an instrument with references to scriptures and mythology and its evolution into the current form.

He provided tips on training methods, attitude, observation skills etc. for aspiring percussionists. To illustrate, he often quoted events from his own life and upbringing as a young mridangist.

Although most of the famous mridangists play at music concerts, he surprisingly revealed that playing for dance concerts is perhaps a more daunting task and requires high-speed playing skills combined with great reflexes and intense observation. He went on to say that sensitivity towards the mind of the co-performer on stage is what makes a great mridangam artiste.

Dr. Prabhavathy took up select questions from viewers and interacted with Dr. Patri. Answering these questions he elaborated on the different lineages (bani-s) of playing the instrument. He played on a two-century-old instrument to demonstrate and explained how it was played in the olden times. He concluded by explaining the shadkala-s or the six speeds of playing possible for the human hand.

Patiently explaining and responding to questions, Dr. Patri made the opening session of Kala Samvada a memorable one, setting high standards for the upcoming sessions. The fortnightly series will continue to showcase legendary artists from all over India throwing light on various art forms.

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