Soothing classical melodies

2017-03-01 06:02
Akash Srikewal (pictured) on sitar and Vishen Kemraj on tabla will perform classical Indian music in 18 Strings to Euphoria, at Victoria Country Club on Friday. PHOTO: facebook

Akash Srikewal (pictured) on sitar and Vishen Kemraj on tabla will perform classical Indian music in 18 Strings to Euphoria, at Victoria Country Club on Friday. PHOTO: facebook

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THE soothing sounds of the sitar — an Indian classical stringed instrument — promise to take listeners on a journey through Indian classical music, in a concert on Friday at the Victoria Country Club.

Featuring Akash Srikewal on sitar and Vishen Kemraj on tabla, the concert — called 18 Strings to Euphoria — includes a selection of compositions ranging from “pure classical to Ghazal and Sufi-type of instrumental music” according to Srikewal.

When asked why it is called 18 Strings to Euphoria, Srikewal told The Witness: “The sitar has 17 to 20 strings. The sitar that I will be performing on has 18 strings, and is a professional sitar custom-made by the world’s best sitar maker to specifications provided by Ustad Shujaat Khan.

“The sound created by the main melody strings as well as the sympathetic strings provides feelings of euphoria to the listener.”

Srikewal, who has been living in Cape Town for the past six years and volunteers teaching music at the Vishnu Mandir in Rylands, has been playing the sitar for over 25 years.

He has established a style of performing classical, semi-classical and modern music that is soothing and soulful, and immerses listeners in the Raga or theme of the composition.

He said that his inspiration for creativity grows from understanding that emotions have no language, and that music connects people, enabling development, healing, peace and fulfilment.

Srikewal was formally trained, over five years, in classical music and sitar by Master Jayeraz Santokhee from the Mahatma Gandhi Institute.

He also completed technical training and learning the theory of Hindustani classical music.

He has performed on many stages, produced and appeared on television and radio performances, and collaborated with local and international musicians — including jazz groups in SA.

Vishen Kemraj, a renowned South African percussionist who studied at the Bharatya Bhavan Mumbai, will play the tabla — a two-piece Indian percussion instrument.

Through his production company, Taal Music Productions, he is committed to the preservation and promotion of Indian music in South Africa.

With over 20 years of performance experience, his versatility has enabled him to perform in various fields of music — from classical and jazz, to fusion and pop.

Srikewal said that one of his and Kemraj’s most memorable performances was last year at the Artscape Theatre in Cape Town “in a beautifully put together ensemble including an orchestra, band, choir and other musicians playing Indian instruments”.

18 Strings to Euphoria is at Victoria Country Club (Peter Brown Drive, Pietermaritzburg) at 7.30 pm, on March 3. Limited tickets available at R100 each.

For tickets and inquiries contact Kusthuri at 082 824 3636.

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