FEAST-Library Salon Event: Part 2

Last Thursday (June 18, 2015) Bank Street graduate students, parents, faculty, and children were treated to an evening of South Indian Carnatic drumming and storytelling. This salon was a FEAST/Library collaborative event organized by Bank Street Graduate School faculty member Nina Jaffe, and reference librarian Peter Hare.

The evening was co-hosted by graduate student and storyteller Gayathri Srinivasan and mridangam (drum) player Abhinav Seetharaman.

First, Gayathri painted a vivid scene of how South Indian Carnatic music was an integral part of her daily life growing up in India. Gayathri said she enjoyed free classical concerts just by doing everyday tasks in her hometown. We all enjoyed learning a song Gayathri taught us; Raadhe Govinda (a song of praise to Lord Krishna).

Raadhe Govinda Song

Radhe Radhe| Radhe Radhe| Raaadhe| Govinda||
Brinda vana| Channda| Brinda vana| Channda||
Anatha natha| Deena bandho| Raaadhe| Govinda||
Anatha natha| Deena bandho| Raaadhe| Govinda||

Nanda Kumara| Navanita Chora| Raaadhe|Govinda||
Brinda vana| Channda| Brinda vana| Channda||
Anatha natha| Deena bandho| Raaadhe| Govinda||
Anatha natha| Deena bandho| Raaadhe| Govinda||

Pandari natha| Pandu ranga| Raaadhe| Govinda||
Brinda vana| Channda| Brinda vana| Channda||
Anatha natha| Deena bandho| Raaadhe| Govinda||
Anatha natha| Deena bandho| Raaadhe| Govinda||

Radhe Radhe| Radhe Radhe| Raaadhe| Govinda||
Brinda vana| Channda| Brinda vana| Channda||
Anatha natha| Deena bandho| Raaadhe| Govinda||
Anatha natha| Deena bandho| Raaadhe| Govinda||

transliterated from Sanskrit by Gayathri Srinivasan.

We used a small set of cymbals to count the rhythmic pattern or tala (rough equivalent in English might be metre) of the song. Gayantri used her hands and fingers to help her keep the tala. After several attempts we got the words right and made beautiful music!

Second, co-host Abhinav Seetharaman provided an informative mini-lecture on the mridangam. We were intrigued by the way Abhi tuned his drum and the different palm and finger formations he used to get the mridangan to talk. We were interested to learn that mathematics is very important to playing the mridangam. Mathematical patterns are at the core of mridangam and konnakol (voice used to compliment the drum). Abhi and Gayanthri showed us how rhythmic hand gestures helped with counting the beats – it was quite challenging for some of us. Below are a set of links Abhi has selected for readers who want to learn more.

Overview (YouTube)
Shiva Tandavam

Konnakol Artists (YouTube)
Subhash Chandran
Lisa Young

Mridangam & Konnakol (YouTube)
Guru Karaikudi R. Mani
Sukanya Ramgopal

Reference librarian at Bank Street College Library.

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