The ‘Festival of Sacred Music’ was presented at Thiruvaiyaru (located near Thanjavur) for the first time in the year 2009. The response has been overwhelming, and well received by the public and media. As the foundation is a non-profit organization, the festival is not ticketed and is open to all. It is scheduled as an annual event on our calendar with the ambition to restore the pride of the MusicCentre that existed in Thiruvaiyaru at the time of Saint Thyagaraja and showcase it for the global traveller as well as local people. It is about reviving the best of Thiruvaiyaru – its arts and music, its landscape and the local life.
The festival wishes to expose people to the various forms of music, help local artisans find more outlets to increase revenues and get local musicians to perform more often so that the town can become a destination for world travellers, for people who once hailed from this area to come by more often and for artists to find their own space. The endeavour is to bring musicians performing sacred music from all parts of India and abroad.
Bombay Jayashri, Jayanthi Kumaresh and the Sikkil Sisters performed at the festival in 2009, in 2010 we had Vidya Rao’s thumri recital, a Jugalbandi showcasing Pandit Krishna Ram Choudary on shehnai and Pinnai Manager Shri. Dhakshinamurthi and K.M Uthirapathi on nadaswaram and Aruna Sairam’s vocal concert as the part of the festival.
In 2011, the festival hosted Chapel bhajans by Fr. Joseph Thattarachery and a violin concert by Ganesh and Kumaresh at the Chettiar Chatram, sacred chants by Nadaka and Gopika, a performance by Yodhaka (a contemporary music band) at the Pushya Mahal Ghat, a performance by the Madras String Quartet and a vocal concert by T.M. Krishna at the Panchanatheeswara Temple.
In 2012, the festival hosted Rudra Vina Concert by Dr.Phillippe Bruguiere from Paris and Sacred Buddhist Chants by the Monks of Drepung Loseling Monastery, Nadaswaram concert by Mylai Mohanraj and a performance by Asima from Trivandrum. On the final day, we had Sopana Sangeetham by Ambalapuzha Vijayakumar and the Vocal concert by Sudha Raghunathan. A large public, mostly from the Thanjavur district, attended the festival. The encouraging aspect is the number of children and teenagers who attend the concerts
In 2013, the festival hosted Sitar Concert by Pandit. Shivnath Mishra and Deobrat Mishra, a percussion concert by Shri.Vikku Vinayakram and his team and the vocal concert by Shri.Sanjay Subramaniam.
In 2014, they had a percussion concert by Shri Umayalpuram Sivaraman, the Hindustani vocal concert by Smt. Vidya Shah and a flute concert by Shri Shashank Subramanyam.
In 2015, a fusion concerts by Krishna Temple Rock Band & Filter Coffee, Saxophone concert by Shri.Kadri Gopalnath and performance by Manganiyars from Rajasthan (45 members)
In 2016, an Abang concert by Mukund Raj Maharaj, Fusion music concert by Aditya Prakash Ensemble and Vocal Concert by Ms.Nityashree Mahadevn
In 2017, they hosted Chitra Veena concert by Ravikiran, Fusion music by Karthik Iyer and Band and Whistle Concert in Carnatic by Shiv Prasad.
Last year in 2018, Aruna Sairam, Dominique Vellard, Baby Soorya Gayathri, Madras Youth Choir and a percussion evening curated by Just Drums Murali were the highlight of the festival.
As with all Prakriti Foundation projects, the Festival of Sacred Music is founded on visionary principles: it is not the concerts alone that are the objective, but also heritage preservation and rural tourism.
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