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Meet the new World Routes Academician ...

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Peter Meanwell Peter Meanwell | 17:30 UK Time, Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Hari Sivanesan

Hari Sivanesan


After an incredible inaugural year delving into the music of Iraq, the World Routes Academy shifts its focus to South India for 2011, as the newest members of the Academy were announced on World Routes this Saturday afternoon. In the first session of many for the 2011 Academy, Lucy Duran was joined in the studio by the new protégé of the scheme veena player Hari Vrndavn Sivanesan.

Londoner Hari, whose parents are originally from Sri Lanka, has studied the veena since he was eight at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, and it was from there that as a teenager he ended up being invited to tour with Ravi Shankar and George Harrison and to record on the album Chants of India. Brushes with stardom aside, Hari is an amazing advocate for the music of South India, and a soulful and virtuosic player of the veena, managing to combine devotion to the instrument and a deep knowledge of the culture around it with a keen sense of humour.




The veena is a plucked string instrument, sometimes known as the mother of the sitar, and is connected with Saraswati the Hindu goddess of knowledge and the arts. It is one of the main instruments of the music of Southern India, called Carnatic music, a strand of Indian music and instruments less well known in the UK. When Indian music became popular in the West during the 1960s it was the music of North India, Hindustani music that was popularised through musicians such as Ali Akbar Khan and Ravi Shankar, and Carnatic music has never had quite the same exposure. As Hari says, 'It's time for Carnatic Music India's music of the south to shine in the West and I'm looking forward to diving into the roots of our music further! It's an exciting year ahead!' For his first studio session Hari was joined by childhood friend, and expert mridangam player, Prasana Devaraja.

The World Routes Academy scheme aims to pair a UK based world music musician with an internationally renowned musician from the same musical tradition, and this year Hari's mentor on the scheme will be a singer who is widely regarded as the leading South Indian vocalist of her generation, Aruna Sairam. As with last year's scheme, a key part of the year ahead will be travelling to India with Hari, where he and Aruna will play together, and delve deeper into their own musics, as well as the rich cultural traditions of South India.

We got off to a great start with Hari here in London, but there's lots more to come from the World Routes Academy over the next year, both abroad and here in the UK, watch this space!



  • Comment number 1.

    Cool stuff, glad to see radio 3 having a global perspective on things.

    One of the things I like about 3 is the diversity, with jazz, late junction etc. etc., music comes in many forms, from many places, and one never knows when you will hear something of interest.


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