I perform a couple of songs and you can ask questions, try out the instruments and hum a few notes if you wish….
You don’t necessarily need any musical expertise for this excursion – just an interest and curiosity really. The session usually takes place in my home where we break the ice with a cup of tea, some biscuits and Mysore pak, Indian sweet cookies that the area is famous for.
I then introduce my instruments – a violin and mridangam (double sided drum) used for the Carnatic style of classical Indian music. I’ll explain the history and how it’s comprised from elements such as swaras, the important single musical notes and the main soul of the composition. The songs are associated with Hindu mythology and thanking the gods. I love all of them but there’s one about Lord Shiva that’s particularly close to my heart because I had the amazing opportunity of performing it in front of the ex-president of India.
There’s a lot of improvising involved. In fact, the songs I sing are completely different to the versions my teacher taught me. They’re not written down anywhere and every time I sing them, they’ll always be different. I demonstrate all of this when I perform a couple of songs and in the interim, you can ask questions, try out the instruments and hum a few notes if you wish.
Once I had this youngster who played in an orchestra and brought his own violin. I just sang the Carnatic notes and he mimicked them. The next thing we knew we were jamming! On another occasion, this lady broke down in tears because I was singing something tragic that touched her. She didn’t know what the lyrics meant but she felt the raw emotion through the tone. It was beautiful to see how music can permeate the barriers of language.
For something completely different, we can even conduct a session in a nearby temple where the hall is perfectly equipped for sound – you don’t need microphones or anything. You’re surrounded by worshippers which helps create a special atmosphere. It’s particularly lovely when the sun is about to set.
Your journey will start with one of our UK team – someone like Malcolm, who's travelled extensively in India. They’ll shape your ideas into the trip of a lifetime. But they won't do it alone. They'll draw on the expertise of our contacts on the ground, connecting you to the people who'll make your holiday one you'll always remember.
Freephone an expert 01306 744 656