Strings Against Climate Change: Durga Krishnan’s Set

I am finally getting it together to post the videos from last fall’s Climate Concert. The sound from the video camera was cruddy, so I had to replace it with the recording from my digital recorder. This took more time than I had anticipated — no excuse, of course, but an explanation, anyway.

Here’s Durga Krishnan’s wonderful set, with Gaurishankar Chandrashekhar on mridangam.

Mahaganapathim Manasa Smarami – Raga – Nattai – Tala – Chathusra Ekam, Composer – Muthuswami Dikshitar

Steve Elman reviewed the concert in ArtsFuse, and wrote this:

Durga Krishnan’s performance was a rich and satisfying introduction to the veena, perfectly assembled and marvelously executed. Her improvisations were structured as beautifully as Sonny Rollins saxophone solos, with motifs introduced casually, then brought back over and over for cumulative effect. And Gaurishankar Chandrashekar’s mrindangam solo showed off some very impressive chops.

Needu Charanamule – Raga Simhendra Madhyamam, Tala – Misra Chapu, Composer – St. Thyagaraja

The Boston Globe’s Andrew Gilbert interviewed Durga before the concert and included her thoughts in his article:

Durga Krishnan, another tireless educator who has collaborated widely with jazz musicians, is also committed to working across genres. Performing in a duo with Gaurishankar Chandrashekhar, an expert on mridangam (a two-headed drum), she’s presenting a set of heavily improvised Carnatic music on the veena, a plucked lute that plays an essential role in the classical South Indian tradition. Eager to participate in Playing for the Planet, she feels that environmental consciousness is inextricably linked to her music.

“I belong to the Hindu religion where we worship the five elements of nature as god,’’ Krishnan says. “One of the pieces we’ll be performing is from a group of compositions that are prayers to these five elements. There’s a deep connection between the kind of music that I perform and nature. It’s very important to do whatever we can.’’


Raghuvamsasudha – Raga – Kathanakuthuhalam, Tala – Adi, Composer – Patnam Subramanya Iyer.

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