Unnati’s Gokulashtami music festival

Ramakrishna Murthy performing at Unnati Centre during the Gokulashtami music festival 2014

Whether the monsoons are on time or not, music festivals in Bangalore mark the time far more predictably. With the Rama Navami festival marking the onset of spring in April, the end of summer is marked by Janmashtami or Gokulashtami music festival.  Bangalore-based SGBS trust has been promoting the cause of classical music for several decades now. In additon to promoting classical music under their Utsav initiative, SGBS runs Shiksha which provides education to underpriviliged children and Unnati that provides vocational training to the unskilled.

This week Unnati’s Gokulashtami series featured the young and rising Carnatic vocalist star Ramakrishna Murthy, who gave an energetic performance on Wednesday August 13th. Raga Saveri is a rakthi raga with high emotive appeal. The singer brought out the nuances of the raga for the song “Shankari Shankuru” and the crisp neraval for the lines “Shyama krishna sodhari” set the pace for the concert. A clear dileneation of the raga Yadukula Kambudhi was followed by a Devarnama. The main songs of the concert were “Srinivasa Tava Charanam”, a composition of Papanasam Sivan in the raga Karaharapriya and a ragam tanam pallavi in ragas Nattaikurinji and Nattai which ended in a ragamalika. When a young boy from the US decided to relocate to Chennai a few years ago to pursue music, it indicated his serious commitment to the art. That passion was evident on the stage during Ramakrishna Murthy’s performance.

The annual music festival organized by SGBS features some of the biggest names in Carnatic music from Chennai. The Unnati hall has excellent accoustics. Apart from good music, the audience can avail of a good meal at the first floor of the venue. The organizers have made this festival a pleasurable experience for Carnatic music rasikas. 

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About Chitra Srikrishna 50 Articles
Chitra Srikrishna is a Carnatic vocalist and writer living in Bengaluru & Columbus. Chitra blogs for Sruti, runs the podcast Raga Ruminations and produces RaagTime, a radio show on Indian music. Her albums include devotional poetry of Tamil Alwars & Dasa kritis, & thematic compositions on Rama and Hanuman. She's the musical half of a multimedia performance duo HumRaag. Her program BHAKTHI explores the journey of the mystics of India. Her latest Antah Prerna -A Musical Telling of an Entrepreneur's Journey debuted at Bangalore International Centre in 2018.