A new online portal — IndianRaga, launched last year by Sriram Emani, a US-based-engineer and trained Carnatic musician along with like-minded fellows, Anasuya Mandal and Neha Jaiswal, plans to provide a platform to bring together young and upcoming Indian classical musicians in North America and create opportunities for them. “While my growing years in Bangalore, I noticed that it was much easier to make a career in the corporate or technical world, while there was hardly any clear path for those in the field of performing arts. The team chose a group of nine fellows to attend a week-long program in New York City, where they were exposed to different styles of music and learnt to collaborate rather than compete against each other.
26, Hindustani Classical Vocalist
She has been performing light classical, Bollywood, and regional music since a few years, but was thrilled to showcase and hone her classical talent at the IndianRaga. “Combining Hindustani and Carnatic classical genres was something I had never attempted before. We created a jugalbandhi of three different ragas that reflected different shades of emotions: melancholy and wistfulness, and then happiness.
28, Carnatic Classical Vocalist
“In most South-Indian families, we would learn music as a part of our daily life. It’s a pity that our new generation is growing up without even knowing what a raga is,” Nagarajan feels Indian ragas are one of the modes of communicating our moods and emotions. “As an example, an intense feeling of stress and rigour in preparing for an exam can be beautifully captured by intense ragas like thodi or varaali,” he says.
12, Hindustani Classical Vocalist and Tabla Player
Learning Hindustani Classical music since the age of four, Armstrong has given numerous solo performances in San Jose, California, where he lives with his parents. “I have been learning music from my mother and guru, Smt. Sujata Ghanekar. Participating in an online music contest was a first for me. The greatest learning I had at the Fellowship was one of the master classes, the one with Shankar Tucker,” he says.
26, Mridangam Player
For Rohan Krishnamurthy who has been learning to play Mridangam since the age of eight, collaborating with other fellows on the team to compose music was a big high of the program. The musician, who recently completed his Ph.d. in musicology from the University of Rochester in New York says, “Composing new music for the videos, recording the tracks in a recording studio and spending a week with some of the best talent in Indian music was extremely enriching.”
29, Carnatic Vocals
Training in Carnatic music for the last 20 years, Mahadevan felt that she needed an external “push” to help her be more methodical about her musical journey. “The fellowship week was chock-a-block with activities and demanded a lot in terms of teamwork, creativity, efficiency, and spontaneity which helped me understand my strengths and areas of improvement,” she shares. Mahadevan also enjoys singing R&B/soul music and hopes to explore some cross-genre music.