January 03, 2014

December 27, 2013

December 27, 2013

In conversation with “Ranjani-Gayatri”

Ranjani and Gayatri, sisters, are world renowned versatile musicians whose twenty five years of professional experience includes studio recordings, television, radio, concerts, festivals and lecture demonstrations. Find out how their year was and what they plan this Margazhi for the rasikas.


December 14, 2013

Margazhi, music…sheer magic!

Maasanam margasheershoham – “Among the 12 months, I am Margazhi”, declared Lord Krishna in the Gita. Krishna’s words sum up what Marghazi means to devout Hindus, a month deeply infused with the spirit of divinity.

Margazhi slides in with the winter solstice, between mid-December and mid-January, a season of mild sunshine and deepening shadows. As the year fades out, it is time to dedicate one’s mind and heart entirely to the Supreme Lord – and hence the complete absence of other festivals.

Margazhi is inextricably linked to the legend of Sri Andal, the lovely maiden who so adored Lord Krishna that she would adorn herself with flower garlands meant for the deity. Thiruppavai, her brilliant, moving composition in praise of the Lord, became part of a daily morning ritual observed by young, single girls who would bathe in the Cauvery River during this time, sing and dance in worship and observe other penances, in the belief that this would lead to a happy, married life.

History further cemented the already deep bond between music and Margazhi. When India’s erstwhile British rulers introduced Christmas/New Year celebrations into the subcontinent, stalwarts of the nascent freedom movement hit upon the notion of a classical music festival, thumbing their nose at the colonial establishment, as it were. And that, some say, is the origin of the famous Madras Music Season!

Over time, the Music Season has grown beyond its original scope into a glittering jewel in Chennai’s cultural calendar that draws bhaktas, music lovers and the cream of society. With tiny sabhas and imposing concert halls packed to the rafters, the Season is an eclectic feast for the senses, one that captures the essence of local culture. Even as the ear delights to mellifluous songs and music dedicated to the Lord, the eye is captivated by women in every gathering, clad in the gorgeous, explosive hues of Kanjivaram silks. Not to be outdone, men’s traditional wear –creamy or white silk dothis with a touch of gold – provides a welcome touch of sobriety to this smorgasbord of colors.

Sarangi welcomes the sacred month of Margazhi with a superb collection of Kanjivaram silks. This year, drape yourself in one of our fabulous creations – just one way to celebrate the beauty of this season!

We are also delighted to announce Sarangi’s involvement with a unique photo contest that is to cover the various elements of the Margazhi music and dance festival. More information about this contest, Moods of Margazhi is available here.

October 25, 2013

Embracing Tradition

Diwali brings with it a mood of celebration, prosperity and festivity. It also presents a wonderful opportunity to embrace our tradition in small and beautiful ways.

While the festive norms for Diwali are known to almost everyone – young and old, often, families have a special family tradition that they observe as part of their Diwali celebrations.

Gifting clothes, sweets and crackers, donating to charity, hosting a Diwali event for family, visiting older relatives, buying a gold ornament, sending out gifts and greetings to friends and family, decorating the home with lights and rangoli, home-cooked ethnic sweets and savories, or a special family recipe for Diwali breakfast or lunch, getting generations together to watch fireworks display, street corner cracker competitions – these are just some of the ways in which different families mark their celebrations of this ever special festival.

Among all these many activities, one, which occupies a lot of time, energy and effort, is buying new clothes for all family members. Unlike olden days, when buying new clothes was relegated to festive occasions only, today we shop for clothes all the time. So what can make buying clothes for Diwali extra special?

What makes Diwali shopping special is that it is a great opportunity to embrace tradition and go back to classics that are timeless and ever symbolic of our glorious heritage. No surprise then, that many women opt for the Kanjivaram for their Diwali sari. The Queen of silks is after all, a brilliant way to drape yourself in luxurious silk and proclaim your love and respect for tradition.

In many families,  Diwali is usually the chosen occasion to buy the first sari for the youngest lady of the house – which is often a beautiful Kanjivaram in a youthfully cheerful colour and with a pretty motif. For the mistress or lady of the house, a grand Kanjivaram that spells grandeur and sophistication is an eloquent way to express thanks for her efforts through the year in binding the family together and creating a harmonious home. For the elderly ladies of the family, whose love and wisdom transcend two generations and more, simple, vintage Kanjivarams that are light to wear but classic in design, make perfect festive buys.

Children also get their prettiest ethnic outfits for Diwali. Silk kurtas for boys, “paavadai-chokka” or ‘lehenga-cholis’ or ethnic suits in rich fabrics for the girls.

And not to forget the menfolk – it is still common to see men – both young and old, embrace tradition by sporting the traditional dhoti or ‘veshti’ during Diwali. The cream and gold of their majestic silk dhotis are as integral to the traditional festive panorama of Diwali as the rich, deep jewel tones of the gorgeous Kanjivarams that the women rustle in.

Wearing tradition is of course the simplest way to cherish one’s roots and it helps set the perfect mood to ring in the Diwali festivities.

October 05, 2013

Sarangi at “Sarees of India”

Sarangi is proud to be a part of the event “Sarees of India” presented by Delhi Crafts Council. Sarangi will showcase our beautiful collection of Kanjivarams.

We invite our patrons in Delhi to join us on the 10th, 11th & 12th of October between 11:00 am to 7:00 pm

Venue: Aga Khan Hall,
Bhagwandas Road
New Delhi.

September 27, 2013

Meet the artist- September

Margazhi is an online platform created to bring together the culturally conscious – by integrating information, news, views and updates related to the Performing Arts such as Indian Music & Dance. Artist of the Month is an initiative of Margazhi.org, where accomplished artists are invited for an interaction, with their Rasikas. The artist’s early life, achievements, and more about their work is discussed during the interaction.

Margazhi.org’s activities are sponsored by Sarangi – the Kanjivaram sari store. The Artist of the Month interactions are hosted at Padma Paaduka’s Alwarpet store, co-sponsored by Leo Coffee.

Amidst the beautifully designed store, with intricately designed jewellery as the back drop, was seated the beautiful, and ever smiling Sowmya, for our interaction with her. Sowmya is a renowned Carnatic musician. She initially began her musical training from her father – Dr. Srinivasan, a Chemical Engineer who later went on learn music from Dr. Ramanathan – a prodigiously talented musician and a stickler for perfection. She later went on to learn from Smt. Muktha. Sowmya, with all humility acknowledged her gurus for what she is today.

She very lucidly explained to the audience about the quality of the music taught in the music Gurukul where she went to. The entire place, soaked with goodness of music is  a path for one to attain mastery over music. Sowmya is also academically established, with a PhD, and a couple of Gold Medals to her credit.

When Sowmya was posed with the question as to how she managed to excel in a whole lot of things, be it music, or academics – she simply answered by saying, that it was her passion that drove her to do what she had achieved and continues to do things that she is passionate about, regardless of what it is – whether music or academics. She proved this again when she said she was pursuing her Masters in Sanskrit. What amazed the audience was the sincerity and devotion that she showed towards learning more and acquiring knowledge in the field of music, which she saw as a large ocean that surrounded her.

Sowmya shared her opinion on singing in the movies and why she preferred not to, saying –  ”Each discipline of music is different and needs a whole lot of practice for one to master it.” She also attributed the same reason for not performing Hindustani music.

Sowmya then shared with us her other interests – Gardening and Cooking. This part of the discussion brought about her “compassionate” side – Talking to her plants and feeding water to crows.

She concluded the interaction by obliging her fans’ requests, with two beautiful songs.

At Sarangi, the Kanjivaram Sari Store, we are proud to have been part of this wonderful event and hope to be able to share with all of you details of many such events in the future.

September 06, 2013

Artist of the Month – September

Sarangi along with Margazhi.org is happy to announce that S. Sowmya is the Artist of the Month for September.

A Carnatic musician by profession, Sowmya’s life has been soaked in melody from the very beginning. Growing up in a traditional South Indian family, she had her initial tutelage in music from her father Dr. Srinivasan, a Chemical Engineer with an enduring passion for Karnaataka Sangeetham. Later Sowmya was singularly fortunate to have been taken under the wings of Sangita Kalanidhi Dr. S. Ramanathan – exemplary musician, esteemed musicologist and extraordinary human being. Sowmya received further training from Smt. T. Muktha, of the legendary Brinda-Muktha duo. One of the most well-regarded Carnatic musicians today, Sowmya sincerely believes that she owes all her success and achievements till today to these individuals, as well as the grace and blessings of her “ishta deivam” Ambal – the Goddess Kamakshi of Kanchipuram. Sowmya’s desire to propagate the traditions of South Indian music worldwide led her to establish Carnatica, an institution dedicated to music & dance instruction, archival, talent search and other related activities. Carnatica ’s web portal is now a popular online destination for music-related information and discussions.

Sarangi – as a patron of Classical Indian performing arts and sponsor of Margazhi.org is proud to have an accomplished artist such as Sowmya as Margazhi.org’s Artist of the Month this September. We invite you to join us for a special breakfast meet for an interactive session with Sowmya at 8:30 am on Saturday, the 21st of September at Paduka’s Alwarpet store.

To register for the event click here.

August 23, 2013

Sarangi at Bridal Mantra

Bridal Mantra is an annual event conducted by The Hindu. Launched in 2011, this luxury exposition has featured the best names in the business of trousseau over the past two years at shows in Chennai and Singapore. It’s not just the established brands; the extravaganza also believes in unveiling promising fashion and jewellery designers, retailers and textile exponents with a creative edge in the bridal segment. The third edition of this mega exposition is set to launch on August 30 2013, at the Leela Palace, Chennai.

Sarangi is proud to be a part of the Bridal Mantra & we will be showcasing  some of the most elegant, beautiful Kanjivarams.

We invite you to experience the luxury of individually dyed and handwoven kanjivaram saris from Sarangi at the Bridal Mantra, on the 31st August & 1st of September, 2013 at The Leela Palace in Chennai.

July 05, 2013

Meet the Artist – June

“Meet the Artist” was an event sponsored by Sarangi and was hosted at the new Paduka Store in Alwarpet. The  event was attended by enthusiastic and adoring fans who were delighted that they had a chance to have an interactive chat with the Dr. Jayanthi Kumaresh.

About Dr. Jayanthi Kumaresh

Jayanthi has been enthralling audiences world over with her graceful, emotive and expressive music for the last 25 years. The Statesman, a well acclaimed daily quotes that Jayanthi is “The best and most versatile veena artiste we have today.” Born into a family where music has been the mainstay for the last seven generations, Jayanthi started playing the veena when she was barely 3.  Winning her way through several laurels and awards right from her childhood, Jayanthi was soon one of the youngest artistes in veena to receive A-TOP grading from All India Radio for the veena.

Jayanthi is the disciple of her maternal aunt Smt. Padmavathy Ananthagopalan and veena Maestro Dr. S. Balachander. Her maternal uncle, the violin legend Lalgudi Sri. Jayaraman was a great influence and inspiration for her. Jayanthi was awarded a Doctorate by the University of Mysore for her work on the subject “Analytical Study of Different Banis and Playing techniques of the Saraswathi veena“.

Why the veena?

When Jayanthi was asked why she chose the veena? She replied saying ” Why not the veena?” Born in a family with  generations of musicians. Jayanthi was brought up in a musical world, waking up to the sounds of music, the family members talking about music and at the age of three, she said that  she did not choose to play the veena, but she ended up playing the veena. Photos of goddess Saraswathi playing the veena encouraged her to chosoe the instrument. The fact that she found the photo of Goddess Saraswathi playing the veena encouraged her to choose the veena. She feels that people do not choose the veena because it requires many more hours of  practice and dedication than the other instruments. She recalls her childhood days when she spent hours together practising . People who know her well say that she practices like a devil and plays like an angel.

Variations in her playing style

The key to success of a concert is the ability to maintain proportion and balance  while rendering her music to different audiences.  There is a three ‘E’ formula to music which is  Entertain, Educate and Elevate. The success of the concert is fruitful when the 3 elements are balanced based on the audience. She feels that a mix of the various speeds and styles of music will make the audience relish the music;  And the choice of songs depends on the location and the audience she is performing for .

Spending time other than Concerts

When Jayanthi  finds time away from her busy concert schedule, she composes songs. A recent work includes the title song  for a Kannada serial. She likes to read a lot of books, books based on history, which would be useful to her when she delivers lectures which elaborate on the vast culture and styles of music in India.

Significance of the veena

The four strings of the veena signify the 4 vedas-  Rig veda , Sama veda, Yajur veda & Atharva veda. The three strings on the side signify Itchchaa sakthi, Gnaana sakthi, & Kriyaa sakthi.

The veena is designed after the human body- the main playing part has 24 fixed frets which is symbolic to the 24 vertebrae  in the spinal cord. 24 is a magical number, the Gayathri manthra also has 24 aksharas. The playing of the veena stimulates the nerve ends of both the hands. Different gods are set to reside at different parts of the veena. Thus it is considered a very spiritual instrument.

About Mysterious Dualities

Mysterious Duality is her album which is a multi-dimensional reflection of the simple yet complex self, expressed through a single instrument. Jayanthi tells us that there are a number of personalities within a person. She quoted an example in which she says that there are different ways a person reacts- to his mother, friend, husband, son or a stranger, over the phone, describing them as different personalities enclosed in  one person. This inspired her to make this album where there are 8 veenas recorded one over the other. One veena plays the main melody, others play the rhythm, harmony, & upper octaves. The resonance of each of the many strings of the  different veenas comes together as a harmonious whole, representing the different personas and thoughts of an individual, and the mysterious dualities of a single existential entity.

Developing interest in veena

Jayanthi appreciates that the instrumental musicians from India are popular and well recognized all around the world with a great impact and reach across audiences. She concluded with the importance of musical instruments by specifying that when a we play a musical instrument- it is a psychosomatic motor activity implying that the right arm does the motor activity, the left hand involves creativity, the brain does the thinking about the Raagam, Thaalam, Sandadhis, Ghamakams, sequence of the Pallavi and the Anu Pallavi. There is a constant thought process happening in the mind and this increases the bandwidth of the brain and children who learn a musical instrument have a tendency to do much better in their academics compared to the others. According to her  Music has remained in our culture for the past 2000 years and will remain for many more generations to come.

At Sarangi, the Kanjivaram Sari Store, we are proud to have been part of this wonderful event and hope to be able to share with all of you details of many such events in the future.

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