Friday, April 27, 2007

Want music? Contribute to charity

Since January last year, I have been active with a charity called India Literacy Project (ILP), here in California. The organization aims to contribute to the cause of literacy in India and promote awareness about the importance of education among the rural people. I've researched and analyzed the credibility of the organization before volunteering for them. I had a chance to speak to one of the representatives in India during my trip there and it was very pleasing to know that my dollars are being spent usefully. I'm planning to visit one of their projects next year and will come back with more information.

The California chapter of ILP predominantly raises funds and promotes awareness about ILP itself among the Indian diaspora here. Well, not many would willingly contribute if we just showed up and asked for money. So, to show our commitment to this cause, we take part in an annual 199-mile Relay from NAPA Valley to Santa Cruz ( We are a team of 12 runners who start at 7.AM on Saturday morning and finish around 4.PM on Sunday evening. We live in a van for the two days and run non-stop from start to finish. This year I have decided to run the second most toughest legs of the Relay adding up to a total of 20.1 miles.

Have I given you enough reason to contribute? I suppose not. As they say, there is no true altruism. I'll make you an offer. If you contribute a minimum of $25, I'll send you a DVD full of music of artists of your choice. (Hint 1: I have a lot of music. Hint 2: My MDR collection itself is more than 12 GB.). For every $10 above $25, I'll add a DVD. You don't have to pay me anything directly. I'll post the instructions for contributing below. The entire amount is tax deductible. I'm paying for the postage and DVD out of my own pocket plus the time spent in burning the DVDs and posting them. Obviously I cannot charge for the music since it's not mine. You'll receive the DVD(s) before the 1st of June, 2007.

NOTE: No contemporary musicians and no commercial recordings.


1. Go to http://www.ilpnet. org/donatenow. html
2. Click on "Donate Now" button
3. Enter Amount to Donate
4. Under "Designation (Optional)" Form Field, Type "ILP Relay Team"
5. Under "Dedication (Optional)" Form Field, Enter Name of the Runner i.e. Sripathi Guruprasannaraj
6. Enter email address and login
7. Once logged in, provide required credit card information to complete the donation
IMPORTANT: Please Note that Donors donating online will not get a paper receipt from ILP. A printer friendly receipt will be emailed to the Donor which they can print and save for tax deduction purposes.

Once you are done, send me your name, address, phone number and preferences by email. My email address is available in the Contact page. I shall send you the DVD(s) at the earliest.

I'm looking forward to your contribution.

"All who have meditated on the art of governing mankind have been convinced that the fate of empires depends on the education of youth." - Aristotle

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Art of Education

"Good musicians impress. Great musicians educate."


I'm not sure if someone has quoted this before. But this is what came to my mind as I was hearing TRS sing Suddha Dhanyasi for the 30th time this week. Prior to hearing this rendition, Suddha Dhanyasi (SD for short) wasn't exactly a favorite raga. I had dismissed it off as a light raga with not much scope for elaboration. I loved Narayana ninna naamadha smarane and knew that the song Punjai undu nanjai undu in the movie 'Unnal Mudiyum Thambi' was in SD. But it was not exactly a raga that turned my head or made me sit up and listen.


Subramanyena is also a favorite in the raga and MMI does a phenomenal job with kalpanaswaras for this krithi. But what I heard from TRS was simply out of this world. It was as if he thought the raga hadn't done been justice and decided to do it that day. The sangathis at Prabrava maadi Pujita Padena are just a precursor. The first brilliant moment comes at 'Bhogamoksha Pradaanena Nityena'. Just listen to the way he sings 'Bhogamoksha'. I can't describe my emotions when I listen to that phrase in this rendition. It's a mixture of love, devotion, enlightenment - all at the same time.


As he gracefully lands at Venkateshwara Nama Rupena, the time has arrived to start his agenda for the day. What follows is a lesson in Suddha Dhanyasi, an exhibition of the art of swara singing, the importance of aesthetics in Carnatic Music, all delivered in a beautiful package. I'll say no more lest it becomes redudant. Sit back and enjoy!!




Sunday, April 8, 2007

Does beauty depend on context?

This has to be one of the best articles I have read in a while. Read the article fully. The article makes you stop and think in a number of places. This is something that would never happen in India but that's an entirely different ball game altogether.