Growing up in North America, one would expect the generation of Indian-American children to take interest solely in Western pop and classical music. However, a group of dedicated youth Carnatic musicians grow up in this continent. Being a student of Carnatic music is one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever received from my parents, guru, and the God above us.
In programs like Dhvani, I get to meet friends from all over the country. Together, we learn krithis from various vidwans, swoon to raga alapanais, and “sabash” to complex korvais. Our jam sessions become musical sleepovers where our spirits elevate to an intoxicating level of happiness and relaxation.
Carnatic music is often stereotyped by its “pitch bend”. To the musicians of this art form, we see much more in this detail-oriented, intricate music. We see marcato, staccato, crescendo, and vibrato entwined in the songs composed by great saints and stalwarts.
This classical Indian music fosters our voices to adapt to various music styles including Western pop and Western classical music. When I sing a song by Meghan Trainor, my friends ask me, “How are you able to roll so well?.” In choir, “Wow, how do you have that pitch control?.” Internally I answer these questions: Carnatic music.
This rich art form is an integral part of my life and who I am. Meeting people who share this common interest always enriches my musical abilities and gives me life-lasting friendships.
Dhvani is one such event where the most talented youth in North America leave the audience spellbound. I was honored to be part of the program last year and cannot wait to hear this year’s group of talented Carnatic youth featured in Dhvani 2015.