City flautist performs at G20 Gandharva Atodyam

City flautist performs at G20 Gandharva Atodyam

September 14, 2023

A-Grade Akashvani artiste Smitha Srikiran among 78 invited by Sangeet Natak Akademi

Mysore/ Mysuru: Dignitaries from across the world who were in New Delhi for the recent G20 summit experienced musical performances from 78 artistes that showcased India’s rich musical heritage at the G20 gala dinner hosted by President Droupadi Murmu on Sept. 9 inside the Bharat Mandapam at the Pragati Maidan.  

The key highlight was ‘Gandharva Atodyam,’ a unique musical medley featuring an exquisite symphony of musical instruments from across the country, showcasing Hindustani, Karnatak, folk and contemporary music with an ensemble of classical instruments.

Among the 78 performers drawn from across the country was Smitha Srikiran, a resident of Saraswathipuram in Mysuru city. An A-Grade flautist of All India Radio Mysuru (Akashvani), she is the Empanelled Artiste of Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), Government of India, since 2007.

‘Gandharva Atodyam’ was organised by Sangeet Natak Akademi and it was a three-hour performance.

At the concert, Smitha Srikiran performed Saint Purandaradasa’s keerthana “Bhagyada Lakshmi Baaramma…” (Karnatak Music – Raag Madhyamavathi) with her flute. Her other performances include “Maitreem Bhajata…”, “Desh Thillana and “Maadu Meikkum Kanne”.

Smitha was recognised through Akashvani and the invitation was extended by Sangeet Natak Akademi. 

Unique musical medley

“It was a unique musical medley featuring an exquisite symphony of musical instruments from across Bharat with an ensemble of classical instruments,” Smitha  told Star of Mysore. The musical arrangements encompassed usage of various rare instruments showcasing our unparalleled and unique musical heritage, she added.

“It’s a matter of great pride for me and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The performance in front of our country’s leaders and foreign guests on such a big international stage will benefit our industry in general and it was like performing on a world stage. I would like to thank the Sangeet Natak Akademi for recognising me. It was a platform for exchange and appreciation of music through which we can understand each other,” Smitha said.

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As the security was tight, the performers were asked to keep a low profile and every time they entered the Bharat Mandapam, they underwent seven-layered checks. Smitha landed in New Delhi on Aug. 30 and returned to Mysuru on Sept. 13.

Among the 78 artistes, 13 were ladies, a few senior citizens, child performers and visually impaired artistes. “The selection was a reflection of one earth, one family, one name (‘Gandharva Atodyam’) and a unifying music  symbolising Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam,” she said.  

Rigorous rehearsals

“From Aug. 31 till Sept. 8, rigorous rehearsals were held from morning 10 till 9 pm. Initially till Sept. 4 we rehearsed at the Sangeet Natak Akademi and from Sept. 5, we were ferried to Bharat Mandapam,” she explained.

The main concert, ‘Gandharva Atodyam’, was divided into three parts — the first performance was ‘Utsaah’ (Vilambit Laya – slow tempo) from 6 pm to 7 pm when the dignitaries started arriving.

The second one-hour performance was of ‘Bharat Vaadya Darshanam’ Part 1 (Madhya and Dhrut Laya – medium and fast tempo) from 7 pm to 8 pm.

The last performance was of ‘Bharat Vaadya Darshanam’ Part 2 (Madhya and Dhrut Laya – medium and fast tempo) from 8 pm to 9 pm when Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other leaders arrived after dinner. In all, the artistes had to perform for three hours, Smitha added. 

The arrangements were impeccable and there was no room for any lapses. From travel, food, accommodation, all the artistes were taken care of well by the Sangeet Natak Akademi. Chairman Sandhya Purecha and Secretary Raju Das personally supervised all aspects, she said.


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