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Hari Sivanesan's World Routes Academy journey begins

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Hari Sivanesan Hari Sivanesan | 16:06 UK Time, Thursday, 28 April 2011

Hari and Roger recording links

In advance of his next Radio 3 broadcast in World Routes at 3pm on Saturday, this year's World Routes Academy protégé Hari Sivanesan writes about his travels to the Indian city of Chennai for his first meeting with his mentor, the singer Aruna Sairam ...   

I remember my last night at home before leaving for our first trip to India... It was a Wednesday night and absolutely manic trying to prepare both musically and also logistically! I was franctically trying to pack and trying to remember all the little things you'd kick yourself for forgetting once out there!

Plus I was working on the day of  my  flight itself and going straight to Heathrow from work,  hence it was proving a little challenging! I had decided not to take my normal veena but take a portable version instead! The weight of the real veena plus packing and the effort of taking the coffin-like box abroad is really taxing!  So a certain Indian company has invented a portable version of the instrument (there's a large difference in timbre because it's electric! Yes, electric! ...)  Roger Short, our producer for this trip, looked appalled ... But it was definitely an easier option for transporting and to sit down with on a daily basis with Arunaji, hence, frowns aside, the portable version it was...
I can still almost feel the butterflies I had that night! I was very, very excited. First, just because India is one of those countries that despite numerous visits, I’ve never tired of: the culture, the music, the food, the colours, maybe not all the smells but definitely some of them ... I had spent the previous couple of nights watching a few YouTube videos of Arunaji’s recent concerts. She had collaborated with Mandolin U Srinivas and on another occasion with Shankar Mahadevan; both genius artists in their own right, top billers basically! Lots of high points which brought goose bumps to Aarati and I as we watched the clips ... The thought of going and sitting with her for sessions in Chennai was (and still is) so daunting, let alone performing on the same stage for our forthcoming BBC Proms concert on 27 July.  Putting all that aside, I was basically really looking forward to meeting her and also looking forward to the idea of taking time out to concentrate on music. It didn't really click that Lucy Duran, the usual World Routes presenter was not coming on this, our first trip. That meant that music aside, as you'll hear, I had to do the presenting too. Interesting ... 

All in all I had no clue what the whole World Routes Academy was going to throw at me.  I was prepared  for a hectic schedule of sessions, interviews, visits, trips etc.,  but kept my fingers crossed, hoping that I would have the opportunity to imbibe all that I could while out in India, digest all of it when I came back and most definitely enjoy the ride, whatever it presented ...

In Saturday's World Routes, Hari explores the roots of South Indian music at a temple festival, and talks to fellow veena player Rajesh Vaidya, who draws inspiration in his playing from Michael Jackson. He also looks at the contemporary music scene in Chennai with a visit to the city's own Radio One, and meets star film playback singer Srinivas. 


Photo of Hari Sivanesan and Aruna Sairam

Hari Sivanesan with Aruna Sairam


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