Mudhra - a cultural movement
Mudhra, as the name signifies, aims at creating a lasting impression on the society through its creative and artistic approach towards fine arts. Mudhra is not merely a sabha, it is a cultural movement.
The motto of the sabha :
- To exhibit the potentiality of talented musicians
- To create more awareness among music lovers about the nuances of carnatic music.
- To set a trend in organising novel and innovative programmes on traditional lines.
- Mudhra was inaugurated as a full fledged sabha on 12th June 1995 by Dr. Nalli Kuppuswamy Chetti and Dr.(Mrs.) Y.G. Parthasarathy. Since then, Mudhra has introduced a number of novel concepts in Karnatic music
4 hour concerts (from 1995) :
Mudhra has been the pioneer in the revival of long duration concerts as 4 hour concert, wherein the traditional kutcheri with elaborate raga alapanas, niravals & swarams, intricate ragam tanam pallavi and grand compositions have been presented in a well spaced manner. In fact, this concert which is featured in the December Art Festival of Mudhra every year, is a much talked about and hall-packed event.
One Raga One Kriti Festival (1996) :
This was a unique festival where every concert featured only one single composition studded with elaborate expositions of raga alapana, niraval, svaram and tani avartanam. Ragas elaborated were Varali, Karaharapriya, Thodi, Sankarabharanam, Bhairavi, Kalyani, Kambodi, Keeravani, Harikamboji etc.
Kalpita Festival (1997) :
In this, only compositional forms sans manodharma aspects were performed. This showcased the varied compositional repertoire of carnatic music. Seven concerts of this type were performed by top artists.
Tala Festival (1998) :
This festival had eight concerts each based on a single talam. Various compositional forms in a single tala were performed, thus helping the audience register well the time cycle of each of the important talas featured in carnatic concerts.
Tukkada Festival (1999) :
This festival showcased the innumerable varieties of Tukkada pieces featured in carnatic concerts. It also had a panel discussion on the topic " the success of a concert is assessed by crowd or standard". Technical sessions on each tukkada piece gave a clear picture of its form and content. The first ever Tamil Ghazal written by Dr. P.B. Sreenivos was sung by O.S. Arun during the festival.
Pallavi Festival (2000) :
Pallavis are the most scholarly pieces in carnatic music which can be a great intellectual treat to rasikas. This festival featured several intricate pallavis by young artists. The role of accompaniment to pallavis was also analysed through a panel discussion.
Janaka - Janya Fesitival (2001) :
A study of the relationship between the parent and offspring ragas through the concert format. A lecture on Janaka Janya and a panel discussion of the topic "theoretical knowledge of raga - is it essential for music appreciation" also formed a part of this five days festival.
Tamil Art Festival (2002) :
Displayed music, dance and dramas of the Tamil genre. A concert of exclusive Tamil compositions, a dance drama depicting Tamil culture and a drama in Tamil highlighted the theme of the festival. A panel discussion on 'Does lyrics enhance music appreciation' and a lecture on writing of lyrics and tuning them were also performed.
Thematic concerts based on a particular theme with corresponding narration of the meaning and musical excellence of the song content is also being conducted regularly.
Mudhra's December Fine Arts Festival
Mudhra's December Festival which spans about 25 days, has had all top ranking artists perform. Eminent dignitaries have inaugurated each festival. The first festival was inaugurated by Dr. M.S. Subbulakshmi and from then on, the festival has been gaining great momentum among musicians and rasikas. Every year, the 'Mudhra Award of Excellence' is conferred on a multifaceted senior musician who has made a distinct contribution to the art world.
Mudhra's One day Seminars :
Mudhra has been a pioneer in conducting One day seminars on various contemporary aspects of music like Tribute to Stalwarts of Yesteryears and the living legend, Microphones in Concerts, Talas and Talavadhyas ,Tradition and Innovation in Music, Tukkadas in Concerts, Human in an Artiste, Pallavi , Media and Music , Janaka - Janya Ragas, Music and its Forms
Mass Singing for Global Peace :
One of the highly acclaimed and successful programme of Mudhra was a spectacular mass singing of bhajans, devotional and patriotic songs by about 5000 children, held on 2nd October 2004 at Madras University Centenary Auditorium in the presence of His Excellency Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.
About 500 school teachers were also part of this event. The singers were led by Dr.Radha Bhaskar and a huge orchestra. This cultural panorama was a great opportunity for many schools to get together through the medium of music.
Other regular on-going projects of Mudhra :
Karnatic Music Appreciation Programme (started in May 2004):
This is a unique One Week Programme conducted in various parts of Chennai as well as all over India with a view to educating music lovers on the finer nuances of Carnatic music. It gives them a complete picture of the form and content of Carnatic cutcheri through lecture demonstrations, live performance, audio visual presentation and interactive sessions. This course conducted by Dr.Radha Bhaskar, has evinced good response from people of all ages and different professions.
Music Info Quiz :held every year for school children, to motivate them to learn about music and perform it with excellence.
Samudhra Magazine :
Feeling the need for an educative magazine covering all aspects of fine arts i.e. music, dance, drama & art cinema, Mudhra has launched Samudhra, which aims at exploring the art world in its full depth. Samudhra contains interviews of leading artists and art related personalities, regular column on understanding ragas and cutcheri format, interesting articles, reviews of events, books, CDs and Cassettes, information on forthcoming events etc. Every year, a senior musicologist / critic / writer is honoured with the title Gnana Samudhra in recognition of his service to the art field. Now the magazine is also online as www.samudhra.org
Drama Festival :
Mudhra organizes a drama festival in June every year where the best Tamil dramas are chosen and presented to the audience. Also, a noted dramatist is honoured every year with the title " Nataka Mudhra."
Mudhra Music :
Mudhra Music's albums are trend setters in presenting quality music to listeners. Live music concerts of Mudhra have also been brought out in Audio CD, MP3 format and DVDs. It also undertakes conversion work of cassettes and video tapes into digital format as CDs, DVDs and MP3s. Mudhra Recording Co. has a unique video editing unit which aims at multimedia solutions. It helps the art community to preserve their valuable productions for posterity by producing documentaries on past stalwarts and also create new concepts for various live and media presentations. It also undertakes job work of Videography, Live Webcast and still photography for wedding, conference and other functions.
Mudhra Prints :
A printing unit which has been established in 1987 and serving the art community with latest computer technology offset printing. This printing unit is utilised maximum by artists, art lovers and organisations within India and abroad for printing of brochures, arangetram invitations, visiting cards, letterheads etc. This is the one and only printing unit in Chennai with a classical taste.
Mudhra's Music Planner - cum - Directory :
This is a unique and useful compilation for the benefit of musicians, organisers and all music lovers.
Webcast of programmes :
Reaching live through technology Under the newly inaugurated forum PAALAM (www.paalam.in), Mudhra is utilizing the latest technology of webcasting and reaching wider viewers by live webcasting of programmes. As a first step is the ongoing 52 week free webcast of music, dance and drama.
A Unique two days Marathon Veena Festival is conducted every year during August wherein 33 Veena Artist participate. Two stages will be erected side by side and each artiste performed for half an hour. This veena Festival is a great opportunity to show case the art of veena which is the ancient instrument to be preserved.
Yuva Sankeerthan Fesival :
Mudhra organises "Yuva Sankeertan", a Nama Sankeertana Mela by school children every year in September from 9.a.m to 9p.m The day long programme had about 110 children from 10 schools performing for one hour each. The main objective of this event was to promote and motivate youngsters in the field of Nama Sankeertanam. After each school performed, the music teacher of the school will be honoured by the respective students as a Guru Vandanam. Commemorating the teachers day on 5th September, Principal of a School will be honoured with a title "Guru Sironmani Award" during this Occasion.
National Conference :
Mudhra has been seriuosly pursuing to educate the listeners about the finer aspects of music and transform lay listeners into knowledgeable Rasikas. Mudhra organises National Conference on Appreciating Indian Classical every year. In this conference Mudhra takes a subject and analysis in-depth the system of Indian classical music by means of Panel discussion and Lecture Demonstration by eminent Musicians and Musicologists.