Bengaluru: “The Sangeetha Surabhi Award from Nadasurabhi in Bengaluru means a lot to me, because I believe that I have been recognised for my belief in music for music’s sake,” said musicologist and scholar R. Vedavalli. She received the award at the Nadasurabhi Annual Music Fest for her lifetime dedication to the cause of pure classical music.
Her puritanical approach is regarded a textbook for posterity by Chennai, the Mecca of Carnatic Music.
In following established principles of classicism, we don’t have to lose out on ingenuity, she says, as her opening Kalyani Varna ‘Vanajakshi’ brought back memories as she took up the Charana Sahitya for Neraval. “Such exercises were in vogue, as improvisations at right interventions made them richer,” she later told The Hindu in an interview.
So how did Ms. Vedavalli latch on to such principled playing when the world around her lapped up newer exercises. “When I was six, I learnt from Srirangam Iyengar. Later, I was guided by famed percussionist Mudikondan Venkatrama Iyer. The stalwarts together weaved in the lakshya and lakshana aspects and this schooling had a deep effect on me,” she says.
Ms. Vedavalli insists on students understanding the raga-lakshana or the raga structure for “it is in taking up the right prayogas (the apt phrases) that the raga exhibits its true colour.”
Daily practice akin to melodic meditation, slow-paced vilamba-kala kritis, and full-throated singing to overcome a false-tone, are some of the dos and don’ts she for students.