'Namba Aathu Kacheri' brings classical music to listeners' homes

'Namba Aathu Kacheri' brings classical music to listeners' homes

The NAK team: (from left) Charulatha Chandrasekar, Swarthmika Srikanth, Aditya Raja, Srilakshmi Bhatt and Vamsidhar Anand.

The NAK team: (from left) Charulatha Chandrasekar, Swarthmika Srikanth, Aditya Raja, Srilakshmi Bhatt and Vamsidhar Anand. | Photo courtesy: Special arrangement

While social media may have become a medium for young artists to connect with audiences across the world, the charm of live performances will never fade away. Artists are finding new ways to perform in person. One such way is 'Namba Aathu Kacheri', an initiative by a group of young artists where chamber concerts and technology meet. As the name suggests, the concerts are held in an interactive and intimate setting. But unlike traditional chamber concerts, these are also live streamed.

Conceptualised by young Carnatic music enthusiast Aditya Raja, the group comprises vocalist Swaratmika Srikanth, violinist Srilakshmi Bhatt and mridangamist Vamsidhar Anand.

The initiative aims to organise performances by established and young artistes to connect rasikas of all ages. The first episode saw a group of artistes singing Tyagaraja's Pancharatna krithis. It took place at Swaratmika's home.

new approach

In a well-lit living room of an apartment in Nanganallur, rasikas are seated on the floor. Microphones and cameras are all over the place, and singers Dhruv and Dhatre are accompanied by mridangist Anirudh Raj and violinist Gayatri Vibhavari. Dhruv picks up a piece of paper from a bowl and begins singing the kriti written on it. “While we follow the traditional format of Karnataka Kucheri, these new methods using gamification have attracted millennial rasikas and young artistes,” says the NAK team.

Over the past six months, the team has organised 11 theme-based concerts every second Sunday. The themes included 'Real-time Pallavi' (focusing only on Pallavi), 'Dwaita' (bringing out two aspects of a composition), 'Welcoming Varali' (featuring seven different Varali ragas) and 'Unsung Abhang'.

Special attention to instrumentalists

The NAK team aims to recognise the importance of instrumentalists and ensure that they get the fame they deserve. The solo instrumental performances included 'Strings and Swarams' (a mandolin concert based on Chittaswaras), 'Exploring Thadhinginaatham' (mridangists presenting Panchanadai) and '+4 to -4' (flute and mridangam concert).

In 'The Wheel of Ragas' concert, violinist Srilakshmi, along with mridangamist Sannath Parameswaran, played ragas beginning with letters chosen from a spin-off wheel displayed randomly on the screen. “It was a unique experience. I played most of the ragas without any preparation,” says Srilakshmi.

This initiative is more enjoyable for the artistes as they can perform even in normal clothes. , , “Here artistes have the freedom to choose their theme, co-artists and repertoire”.

“We experimented with ragam-tanam-pallavi in ​​Vanaspati raga, with mridangist Vamsidhar and GN Bhuvan playing the tanam, which is rarely heard in traditional kachri,” says Vanika Charulatha Chandrasekhar, who led NAK’s first instrumental kachri ‘solo duo’.

Presence on social media

NAK has also embraced online media – from interesting promos about practice sessions and content discussions to digital presentations of pillar graphics displayed on screens during live-streamed Kachri and short videos of unique performances.

“The promo shoots are the most fun because they are shot naturally, and nothing is scripted,” Vamsidhara said. “We have received messages from unknown fans asking for more promos and spotlight videos.”

Aditya says, “Some senior artistes like mridangist Sumesh Narayanan and Delhi Sairam and singer Bharat Sundar have seen our online content and have shown interest in participating in NAK Kachri. This is very encouraging.”

While Kucheri was initially organised at artistes' homes, the team is now taking it to the homes of rasikas. The first such concert was held at Valasaravakkam. “Those who are interested in organising a Kucheri can message us on our social media handles,” says Aditya.

Sessions by Experts

To expand the horizons of music, NAK is looking at music education. “We plan to invite experts to share their views on various aspects of Carnatic music. Our first interactive workshop titled 'Samridhi in Alapana and Swaram' will be conducted by Vainika Ramana Balachandran,” team members said.

NAK is working on various exciting projects to bridge the gap between classical music and music lovers.

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