As I walked into a flute recital of a varnam being played in the ‘Thisra’ 1/3rd nadai, quite rare, I wondered could this be happening in Sydney ? Children from the young age of 6 to students well past their teens and into adulthoold playing the mridangam, flute and sing. Talent harnessed quietly with dedication saw an army of upcoming mridangists and flautists make a significant mark on the landscape of Sydney’s Carnatic Music scene. There were well over 100 students, or it seemed, waiting in line to perform what they knew however much they had learnt with innocent eagerness making it a rather long evening for the audience and a longer evening for the organisors who unflinching and with pride conducted the entire proceedings for the evening with a smile interspersed with some quick quizes which the children eagerly ran to the stage to answer. These students belonged to the Ghanalayam School of South Indian Classical Music.
The Ghanalayam School of Music and Rhythm, I should add, has been teaching students Carnatic Music and its traditions for the last 15 or more years in Sydney under the direction of a quietly competant and modest teacher Mr Suthanthiraraj an eminant flautist, student of Sri Sommunderam and great master Natesan Ramani and Student of Chandrasekaran for Mridangam. Mr Suthanthiraraj direction dedication and passion sees its fruition in his son Janakan Suthanthiraraj. Jana, as he is called is now one of Sydney’s leading young mridangam players who is fast making waves with his energetic and coherent rhythmic cycles ‘thani avarthanams’.
Saying that Age is no barrier to learning this artform the school’s forum presented a smogasboard of students at varying levels of varying ages and capabilities. A few excerpts from that evening can be watched below.
Seen Above are: Ramesh on Mridangam, Janakan on Kanjira, Venkatesh on Flute. I did not get the names of the Veena and Ghatam players. If you know it please drop me a line.