Deep soul: ‘It is who I am and it is my journey thus far,’ says sitar player Kumar Karthigesu of the show Pravaasa – A Sitar’s Journey.
Pravaasa by the Temple of Fine Arts is a concept show by award-winning musician Kumar Karthigesu that will take listeners on a sitar journey.
Thanks to the late Indian sitar maestro Ravi Shankar who connected the world to classical Indian music, the beloved string instrument has traversed many continents and continues to play a prominent role in the field of fusion music. In a celebration of the instrument, sitar player/academic Kumar Karthigesu and friends will present a one-night performance called Pravaasa – A Sitar’s Journey at the Temple of Fine Arts (TFA) in KL on April 27.
It tells the story of the sitar from its ancient existence in the form of the majestic rudra veena, created by Lord Shiva, to its present, lithe form. Pravaasa, which means migration in Sanskrit, also chronicles the story of a musician with traditional and orthodox roots, and how he has been influenced by Malaysia’s rich, cultural, social and musical heritages.
Kumar will collaborate with 12 musicians, all of whom he has worked with previously. The musicians, utilising a wide range of instruments, are Prakash Kandasamy (tabla), Ravindra Parchure (dhrupad vocals), Praashekh Borkar (sarod), Achyutan Sashidaran Nair (violin), Sivabalan Shanmuga Sundram (mridangam), Hariraam Tingyuan Lam (gambus), Ng Siu Yee (Chinese drums), Kamrul Bahri Hussein (gendang and rebana), Jamie Wilson (steel/nylon guitar), Eric Li (jazz piano), Badar Ben Taleb (djembe/cajon) and Surjit Singh (harmonium).
“I prefer to call it a concept show, not fusion,” says Kumar in a recent interview. “Back in those days, the sitar was used to accompany dhrupad singing (a vocal genre in Hindustani classical music) and only later, became a solo instrument.”
The first segment will feature north Indian music while the second segment will showcase the sitar’s diversity alongside other carnatic (classical south Indian music) instruments. The carnatic segment will feature the song Nagumomu Kanaleni in Abheri raga, a popular composition by prolific composer Tyagaraja.