As part of the 2011 World Routes Academy, British born veena player Hari Sivanesan travels around Tamil Nadu in South India, to learn more about the classical music of South India that he has grown up playing. Together with his mentor, acclaimed South Indian vocalist Aruna Sairam, and presenter Lucy Duran, they embark on a journey of musical and emotional discovery.
Around the ancient city of Thanjavur, known as the land of temples, they visit the the shrine of Saint Thyagaraja, the venerated South Indian composer, and perform an intimate session in the confines of the shrine. They attend a Sampradaya Bhajan session of devotional singing by a Brahmin community in Aruna Sairam's ancestral village, and eat a traditional South Indian meal from a banana leaf on the floor. They discover folk music from the other end of the social scale at a village temple deep in the countryside, performed by a troupe of folk drummers and dancers, and Hari makes a pilgrimage to the world's only temple devoted to the Hindu Goddess of knowledge, music and the arts, Saraswati, to pay tribute to his late teacher, Smt Kalpakkam Swaminathan.
The World Routes Academy is a BBC Radio 3 initiative which aims to support and inspire young UK based world music artists by bringing them together with an internationally renowned artist in the same field and belonging to the same tradition.