New York: The Cleveland Thyagaraja Aradhana Committee and Jana Seva hosted the Morning Raga fusion concert featuring noted Carnatic singer Sudha Ragunathan and six other renowned artists in New York.
Raghunathan, a star among Carnatic musicians in India, was joined in the concert by Amit Heri, the lead guitarist, Keith Peters on bass guitar, Tiruvarur Vaidyanathan on mridangam, Raghavendra Rao on violin, Arun Kumar on drums and Guru Prasad on ghatam. They blended Carnatic and Jazz music in a fine woven of melody.
The fusion ensemble was something unique to the Carnatic music lovers of New York metro area, who are used to the traditional ragam, thanam and pallavi concerts.
Raghunathan started the concert with a sloka followed by the kriti on Lord Ganesha - Maha Ganapathim Manasa Swarami in raag Nattai. She then sang Maathe in dharu varnam in the raga Khamas and followed it up with India Funk in raag abhogi that kept the audience tapping their feet.
Raghunathan also sang Peace which was Amit`s composition in raag Hamsadhwani and enthralled the fans with the ever-popular English note and ended the concert with Seetha Kalyana Vaibhogame, Bhagyadhalakshmi and Kurai Onrum Illai kanna composed by Chakravarthi Rajagopalachari and sung by M S Subbulakshmi at the United Nations in 1967.
The singer was invited to sing Vande Mataram at the Central Hall of Parliament in New Delhi in 2000 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Republic of India. She was honoured by the Government of India with Padma Shri for her contribution to Indian music.
One of India`s biggest names in jazz fusion music, Amit has shared and worked with numerous internationally renowned artists including Charlie Mariano, Robert Miles, Angelique Kidjo, George Brooks, Matt Garrison and Zakir Hussain.
Born into a family of percussionists, Tiruvarur Vaidyanathan was initiated into mridangam at the age of six and now he is one of the top percussionists playing for legends such as Dr M Bala Murali Krishna, K J Yesudas, N Ramani.
Keith Peters is the best base guitarist in India today and Chennai-based Peters is a veteran of over five thousand live gigs and played over thousand songs. He worked with composers such as A R Rahman.
Jana Seva is a New York-based non-profit organisation that aims to construct homes for orphans and destitute children in India so that these hapless children get the best education they deserve and contribute to the development of India. The first such center is being opened in Mullai, Jolarpet in Tamil Nadu.