Local singer's successful CD album

2008-09-09 00:00

A young Maritzburg singer, Magantharen Balakisten, who quit his hometown after the death of his mother and mentor, Shankutula Balakisten, has carved a niche for himself in the field of Carnatic music in South Africa with the release of his CD Thevaram — a selection of sacred Saivite hymns.

The album has created so much interest that it has been nominated for the South African Traditional Music Awards (Satma) 2008 which will take place in Durban at the ICC on September 27. Balakisten is delighted that his recording of the divine Thevaram scriptures is being recognized at a national level.

Released in 2007, the album has already enjoyed success and accolades on radio and television and has also been played in the United States and India. Music critics have hailed Balakisten’s powerful and passionate renditions as being revolutionary and many spiritual leaders have asked their congregations to include it in their daily lives.

Balakisten has expressed his gratitude to Pietermaritzburg people like the late Dhanalutchee Naicker, who studied music and singing in India for many years, for his teaching. Another Pietermaritzburg individual who was responsible for tutoring him on the Thevaram scriptures was Sergie Phillips. Balakisten went to Tamil school in Pietermaritzburg and always maintains: “I belong here, except that Durban has more young people versed in the vernacular and who are at an advanced stage when it comes to Carnatic music.”

In the album Balakisten is accompanied by Tansen Nepaul (harmonium), Sridevi Padmanathan (violin), Kumeran Raman (flute), Sivanathan Pillay (mridhangam), Thiruvasagan Muthulingam (thabla and ghatam) and Sivanesan Pakiry (morsing).

There is currently an SMS voting process for the Satma awards that

is open to all South Africans. Anyone wanting to vote for Balakisten

can sms “SATMA: best Indian Album: THEVARAM by Magantheran Balakisten” to 34066.

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