Jamming for a cause, classical legends unite
Organised by Sankara Eye Hospital to further their Gift of Vision programme, Sur N Symphony is a concert with a mission. Bringing established classical artistes together on one stage, it hopes to raise the profile of the cause while celebrating the transformative power of music.
The line-up includes composer and singer Shankar Mahadevan, classical percussionists Selva Ganesh, Taufiq Qureshi and Vidwan Vikku Vinayakram, and tabla-player Aditya Kalyanpur. They will be joined by Niladri Kumar, credited with evolving a new instrument, the zitar, which he will play tomorrow evening. “People say that I merged a guitar and a sitar, but its actually an electric sitar,” he shares. The instrument has helped him to move traditional Indian music in new directions, with influences from rock and electronic.
Selva Ganesh, whose recent project is the rock fusion group Arka, adds, “There will be lots of interesting fusions, but this concert will remain broadly within the limits of Indian classical music, though it is contemporary.”
While Ganesh explains that they won’t know what they will be playing until the night, ‘because of improvisation,’ he does share that they hope to set the stage with a solo performance from his father Vidwan Vikku Vinayakram. “And you can expect to hear music that involves each of us in different configurations. Niladri and I hope to perform some pieces from the album Soukha, which we collaborated on.” As Ganesh, Mahadevan and Kumar often worked with mandolin maestro U Srinivas, who passed away at the end of last year, they also hope to dedicate a few songs to his memory.
“We also want to make the audience feel part of the concert. I believe that everyone has rhythm in their bodies, and it’s our job to bring that out,”
says Ganesh. For him, though, ultimately the concert’s main purpose is to raise funds for the Sankara Eye Hospital.
“They do fantastic work, going out to villages and performing 100 free cataract operations per day. Music is my vision, so I hope that our music will help other people gain theirs,” he signs off.
Tomorrow, 8 pm. At Counterculture, Whitefield. Tickets (Rs.750 upwards) on bookmyshow.com
— Maegan Dobson Sippy