Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Grant
South Indian Carnatic Singing
Over 8,000 people of Indian ancestry make New Hampshire their home and continue to cherish and enjoy their rich traditions of song, dance, and community celebrations. The State Arts Council recognizes the beauty of these traditions and their importance to the cultural fabric of New Hampshire. In both FY 2013 & FY 2014, Traditional Arts Apprenticeship grants were awarded to help preserve a traditional style of singing distinctive to southern India, called Carnatic singing. Funding enabled master artist Sandhya Sridhar of Aradhana School of Carnatic Music in Nashua, NH to pursue in depth teaching with two aspiring apprentices, Anjana Mangalat and Manasa Ravi. Both students engaged in over 100 hours of intensive one-to-one lessons over the course of 10 months.
In contrast to much Western music, which is composed around a basic melody and harmonies, Carnatic music is based around melodic styles. Both vocal and instrumental parts require many years and great dedication to master the subtle nuances of bhavam (emotive expression), ragam (melodic tune) and talam (rhythm). Improvisation is important and virtuosity is expressed with subtle vocal variations. The compositions have spiritual and cultural significance in how they are performed and guru Sridhar considers it a great responsibility to ensure an apprentice achieves not only mastery of musical skills, but also develops a strong character and embraces the cultural values that are the foundation of the music.
In June of 2013 Anjana culminated her training with a full-length 3-hour performance or what is called arangetram in Hindi. She was accompanied by Sri Surya Sundarajan on the violin and Sri Gaurish Chandrasekhar on the mridangam. It was held at Bedford High School and over 300 community members were in attendance. Anjana’s extensive program included a repertoire of classical pieces composed over the past 400 years and an impressive array of vocal styles. For more on her performance and other concerts presented by the students of Sandhya Sridhar, click here.
The State Arts Council’s Heritage and Traditional Arts Program identifies, documents, preserves, and promotes traditional arts and artists in New Hampshire so they continue to be a visible and vital aspect of the state’s living cultural heritage. The program administers grants, program services, and technical support to organizations and traditional artists. The NH State Council on the Arts in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts has funded Traditional Arts Apprenticeships in over 55 artistic disciplines over the past 20 years.
For more information about the Heritage and Traditional Arts Program, contact the program coordinator, Julianne Morse.
June 3, 2014