Evening of South Indian Music: Nirmala Rajasekar

March 2, 2016
By Christine Zheng

Nirmala Rajasekar, a world-renowned Carnatic veena musician and educator of South Indian Music, performed at the Great Hall at Carleton on Friday night, February 26th, 2016. As part of an entire “Evening of South Indian Music”, Rajasekar performed alongside acclaimed musicians VVS Muraru on violin, Thanjavur Sri Murugaboopathi on mridangam, and Ravi Balasubramaniam on ghatam.

The veena is a type of plucked instrument originating from South India; the mridangam, a double barreled percussion instrument with one end larger than the other, and the ghatam, a percussion instrument resembling a clay pot, are also from the Carnatic (South Indian) music tradition. The Carnatic tradition, derived from ancient Hindu traditions is centered around vocal music, which involves being literally sung or being performed by other instruments in a melodic, singing manner.

Rajasekar has performed in venues throughout the world and is a recipient of many awards including a Bush artistic fellowship, a McKnight fellowship, Rotary Vocational Excellence award and Best Senior Veena Artiste. She is known for her talents in exploring South Indian Classical (Carnatic) to create collaborative projects with other music traditions including western classical and jazz. Rajasekar has been called the “Carnatic Ambassador” by the press for her role in introducing Carnatic music to other global art forms, and it appears that her performance at Carleton was doing just that.