Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Welcome speech at launch of Sruti App on 15 March

Ladies & Gentlemen,


Sruti has always been steeped in tradition, but it has never shied away from technology. We use contemporary tools to analyse our ancient arts. Sruti’s very first issue way back in October 1983 had the archetypal traditionalist DK Pattammal and boy wonder Mandolin U Srinivas on its cover. It was still in its early years when it switched from physical cutting and pasting to desktop publishing solutions. The Sruti website was launched as early as 1998, by the venerable doyen of Carnatic music, Semmangudi Srinivasier, another happy juxtaposition of tradition and modernity. When the magazine introduced colour in late 2006, some of our friends were critical of the move. One of them said, “I don’t like the new Sruti. It has too much colour. “It was in some ways the expression of a valid fear that we would in the process forsake some of our aesthetic values. Happily, we have by trial and error largely avoided the trap.

The Sruti App will soon be launched and I shall not dwell on it, except to say that the young dancers who follow me will perhaps appreciate the App much better than most of us belonging to an older generation. The young man who is about to enthrall you is a veritable genius equally comfortable with a traditional art rooted in our soil and modern technology.

The gentleman who is set to launch the app is someone who is well versed in the state-of-the-art in technology as well as the classical arts. Rajiv Menon is original in his thinking, brilliant in his creativity and crystal-clear in his articulation. 

Like Sruti, Gowri Ramnarayan, one of its founder editors, straddles the fields of music, dance, literature and theatre with consummate ease. So do the other members of her team this evening, the artists Mythili Prakash—a talented American-born Indian bharatanatyam dancer—and vocalist Amritha Murali—also an accomplished violinist who has a master’s degree in finance management—and the technical team of Venkatesh Krishnan, a sensitive lighting specialist respected by all theatrepersons, scholar-actor-writer-artist Akhila Ramnarayan and the gifted and versatile Sheejith Krishna, dancer, choreographer, conductor, and percussionist.

On behalf of Sruti, I welcome our generous sponsors and all our distinguished guests to this evening’s programme. It also gives me great pleasure to welcome you all. Where but at Kalakshetra founded by that ultimate traditionalist and fearless innovator Rukmini Devi Arundale can we find such a perfect ambience for the proceedings of this evening?

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