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Udupa festival — A meeting point for artistes

Young musician Giridhar Udupa’s bi-annual occasion accomodates numerous genres for a richer expertise

Young musician Giridhar Udupa’s bi-annual occasion accomodates numerous genres for a richer expertise

Girdhar Udupa is an exponent of the ghatam, that’s accorded the standing of an upa pakkavadhyam (secondary accompanying instrument) in Carnatic music live shows, however the bi-annual festival launched by the younger musician 4 years in the past is among the many most interesting within the nation. The three-day occasion often presents Hindustani, Carnatic and fusion performances and sees an enormous turnout regardless of being ticketed.

The fourth version of the festival was held not too long ago on the Chowdiah Hall, and opened with the percussion ensemble comprising Pt. Yogesh Samsi on the tabla, Mattanur Sankarankutty Marar on the chenda, and Bengaluru Amrit on the kanjira. An uncommon mixture, it was attention-grabbing to see how every instrument conveyed the identical theme in another way. Percussion has all the time occupied centre stage on the occasion, the place greats resembling Zakir Hussain, Umayalpuram Sivaraman and Karaikudi Mani have carried out earlier.

Next was sarod maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan’s efficiency. The veteran musician paired up with an outdated affiliate, Pt. Kumar Bose, to current a leisurely live performance, that includes his favorite raags together with Durga, Khamach, Rageshwari, and Mian Malhar. A spotlight was his singing, in full, a tarana composed by him in Bahar earlier than enjoying it on the sarod.

Vocal and veena

The second day featured senior vocalist Bombay Jayashri and veena exponent Jayanthi Kumaresh, a preferred mixture, each having been educated within the Lalgudi custom. They created magic with their seamless circulate of musical ideas. An uncommon, heart-warming piece was the pallavi they each had collectively composed in raag Bihag, Adi taal, with the lyrics ‘Udupa vadana Shri Krishna Gopala Giridhara’, in reward of Giridhar Udupa, who was moved by this gesture.

Indeed, musicians turning curators appear to do a greater job than occasion organisers. Giridhar joins the pretty lengthy checklist of musicians, who’ve organised music festivals. At this version, there have been two such musicians. Ustad Amjad Ali Khan within the Nineteen Seventies and Eighties organised the Ustad Hafiz Ali Khan Memorial festival. It was once held in Delhi, Mumbai, and Kolkata (for an incredible 13 days). Yogesh Samsi for the previous 15 years has been organising the Dinarang Smriti festival in reminiscence of his singer-composer father, Pt. Dinkar Kaikaini, in Mumbai. While festivals organised by musicians are often to commemorate a guru, Giridhar’s motivation is considerably completely different.

Reaching out

Giridhar’s father, Ullur Nagendra Udupa, a Yakshagana artiste, all the time needed to be taught the mridangam however didn’t get the chance at his native village in North coastal Karnataka. So he moved to Bengaluru. His realisation that alternatives to be taught and likewise to hearken to artistes dwell was vital made him begin a music college in 1975.

Giridhar took up the duty of widening the attain of music by taking it to outdated age properties, colleges, and distant villages of Karnataka. “But I don’t have the money to achieve my dream. My festivals are a means to raise funds. They are sponsored and totally driven by ticket sales. The culture of listening to classical music in India should change. Why should people expect free music? I keep the ticket prices high since I aim to provide the best. Sometimes organisers and event management companies don’t have a feel for audience expectations. Musician-organisers know what the fellow artistes want, and what chemistry can be created with whom.” For occasion, the final day’s live performance featured solos by Louis Banks and Sivamani, and a bunch efficiency (by the way, an addition was the spontaneous jamming on stage by Girdhar and Sivamani).

Udupa Festival has additionally been performed in Denmark and Poland. But having editions of the festival in different cities isn’t straightforward. Giridhar says it takes an excessive amount of time and being a busy musician he can’t cope. He has already booked Chowdiah Hall for 2024 and is planning the artiste line-up.

The Delhi-based creator writes on classical music.

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