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Carnatic Violin & Mridangam Recital by Shriam Rajagopalan (violin) and Curtis Andrews (mridangam).

The artists will present a recital of South Indian classical music, known as Carnatic music. The roots of Carnatic music are nearly 2000 years old, but the current practice has taken shape over the past 500 years or so, developed in the southern reaches of the Indian subcontinent. The exploration of raga (melodic aspects) and tala (rhythmic aspects) is the foundation of Carnatic music, realized through a large repertoire of compositions by numerous composers, centered around spiritual themes devoted to various deities and spiritual concepts of Hinduism. Aside from elaborate compositions, improvisation plays an important role in Caratic music performance practice. The violin, though a Western instrument, has been used by Carnatic musicians since the end of the 18th century and is an indispensable accompanying instrument to vocal recitals, as well as having a solo performance tradition (utilizing the same repertoire of vocal-based compositions). The mridangam is a two-sided percussion drum and is the most important percussion instrument in Carnatic music, as well as in other contexts such as classical dance.

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Shriram Rajagopalan (violin)

Shriram hails from the ancient city of Tirunelveli (Tamil Nadu, India). He started learning Carnatic (South Indian) vocal music when he was 10 years old, training under veteran Mani Bhagavathar. Soon he took an interest in instrumental music (on the violin) and learned it from Guru Nellai Ravindran for almost a decade. He started accompanying vocal artists and has performed in over 100 concerts. He continued learning advanced violin techniques from the legendary Padma Bhushan M.S. Gopalakrishnan and later from Kalai Maamani Dr. Narmadha in Chennai. Since relocating to Canada, Shriram continues to perform and teach Carnatic violin. He holds a Bachelor’s in mechanical engineering and is currently working in Langley as a Project Manager.

 

Dr. Curtis Andrews (mridangam)

Curtis was born and raised in Carbonear (Newfoundland, Canada) and taught himself to play thedrumset as a teenager. Since then he has undergone travels around the world learning percussion traditions in parts of Africa and India. He is a disciple of mridangam maestro Sangita Kalanidhi Sri Trichy Sankaran and has been learning from him for the past 22 years in Canada and in India. Andrews performs locally on mridangam with various Carnatic vocalists as well in collaboration with several bharatanatyam dancers. Aside from mridangam, Andrews is also a composer, percussionist and regular collaborator with other musicians locally, nationally, and internationally in a wide variety of styles. He leads his own award-winning ensemble - The Offering of Curtis Andrews – which performs his own original music. He holds a PhD in ethnomusicology from the University of British Columbia.

www.curtisandrews.ca