Nov 162015
Jyotsna Studio Mahesh Padmanabhanagar 2010 (53)

Jyotsna Srikanth will be appearing at the Blue Lamp on Thursday Nov 19

With thanks to Rob Adams.

Jyotsna Srikanth has become used to people telling her that she makes her instrument sing.

It’s a compliment that the violinist from Bangalore appreciates for sure but as she points out, it’s actually just confirmation that she’s doing her job properly.

“In the Carnatic tradition that I trained in everything is based on the voice,” she says.

“To play any phrase, whether your instrument is a melody instrument or a drum, you have to be able to sing it. So it’s always lovely to hear someone say I make the violin sing but if I wasn’t doing that, back home I wouldn’t be considered very good!”

Srikanth’s first experience of violin music, at a concert in Bangalore at the age of five, was life-changing. So taken was she by the instrument that when she got home she ran to the kitchen cupboard, dragged out two brooms and started scraping them together to try and recreate the sound she’d just heard.

“My mother thought I’d gone mad,” says the now London-based violinist who brings her Bangalore Dreams group to the Blue Lamp on Thursday, November 19.

“But I was desperate to hear that sound again.”

Srikanth’s mother, a respected singer in Indian music, had already begun training her to follow in her footsteps with six hours of daily practice. So it took a lot of pleading from Srikanth to persuade her mother to buy her a violin.

Even then, Srikanth’s mother used her motherly wiles to ensure that practice schedules were maintained. There was a bakery next door and by four in the afternoon the aromas of fresh baking would waft into their house.

“I’d get promised a bun or something else tempting if I worked on the exercises I’d been given,” says Srikanth.

“And the bribery worked!”

She made her concert debut at the age of nine and then in her mid-teens she started her training in Western techniques at Bangalore School of Music, going on to gain her grades from the Royal School of Music in London before studying to become a pathologist.

“Playing music for a living is a precarious lifestyle and I was unsure about turning fully professional until my husband got the chance of a job in London in 2004,” she says.

LIAF launch-Jyotsna playing4_12Jul12Combining pathology with music didn’t hinder her playing time, however, and she worked on some 250 Bollywood film soundtracks as well as playing concerts, eventually establishing a reputation that has now seen her regarded as the leading Indian violinist in Europe.

With Bangalore Dreams, where she’s joined by keyboardist-pianist Shadrach Solomon and drummer Manjunath NS, she ventures into jazz and rock rhythms while still using the techniques and expression she’s developed through her Carnatic music training.

“It’s a lot of fun to play with these musicians,” she says.

“They’re very serious about their music but they’re always looking to try new ideas and to bring modern ways of playing together with traditional values. Manjunath NS is brilliant. People will love what he does especially as he can play Indian percussion, is a fantastic, swinging kit drummer and he has the skill of vocalising what he’s playing, so what you get in Bangalore Dreams is strong melodies, a lot of improvisation and rhythmical vocals that are the equivalent of Carnatic beatboxing.”

Jyotsna Srikanth
Blue Lamp, 121 Gallowgate.
Thurs Nov 19, 8pm
£12 admission.
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Feb 272014

rannok_photoA very special collaboration is happening in three North East town this month. With thanks to Shona Donaldson.

Danish folk duo Rannok are making the trip to Scotland for joint concert’s with well-known traditional fiddler Paul Anderson and singer Shona Donaldson.

While studying at The Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts, Southern Denmark, Michael Graubæk and pianist Theis Langlands started the Rannok duo, playing what has been described as ‘a masterly blend of fiery folk music, authentic traditional tunes, and original compositions which give that contemporary touch’.

Rannok released their first album in 2010, dedicating it to both the Danish folk music tradition and to innovation.

Since then the duo have played at venues and festivals in Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland and all over Scotland, where they have met with particular audience approval. In fact Rannok’s first album was partly financed by Scottish fans who thought it high time they produced a cd.

“When we are composing our own music”, Michael says,

“we are influenced by the traditional sound of Danish music and the Scots as well. Theis is married to a Scots girl and has lived in Scotland, so we know the music. A couple of hundred years back, the Danish and British traditions were closer than they are today, and that’s the sound we’re aiming for”.

Paul Anderson, who is based in Tarland is already something of a legend in the time honoured fiddle tradition of Scotland. During his competitive career he won most of the traditional fiddle championships in Scotland and in 1995 won Scotland’s premier fiddling event ‘The Glenfiddich Scottish Fiddle Championship’. A regular on TV and radio, Paul has recorded 9 solo album and guested on over 40 CD’s.

Hailing from Huntly but now living in Deeside Shona Donaldson is one of Scotland’s best known young traditional singers. In 2009 she won the coveted Scots Singer of the Year Award at the Scots Traditional Music Awards. She has a particular enthusiasm for the songs of the North East and as well as singing plays the fiddle.

The collaboration between two of Denmark’s most acclaimed musicians and two of Scotland’s best known traditional musicians is certainly not to be missed. It promises to be a great night of music and song!

Rannok, Paul Anderson and Shona Donaldson will be appearing at Tarland Primary School in Tarland on Friday 14th March and the concert starts at 7.30pm and tickets are £7.

On Saturday 15th March Rannok will be leading a music workshop in the Village Hall in Braemar at 2pm and all instruments are welcome to learn from two of Denmark’s most acclaimed musicians. The workshop will cost £10.

The concert in Braemar will be in The Village Hall at 7.30pm and tickets are £7.

On Sunday 15th Rannok will again be leading a workshop in The Gordon Arms Hotel in Huntly at 2pm with all instruments welcome and it is £10.

The concert on Sunday night will be in The Gordon Arms Hotel, Huntly at 7.30pm and tickets are £7 on the door.


Paul Anderson

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