Chitra Srikrishna is a classical carnatic singer. She spent many years in the Bay area, which is why you haven’t heard of her. She is a fantastic concert-level performer.
Chitra and I collaborate on a show/performance called Hum Raag. The basic concept is “From film songs to classical music.”
What’s it about? Okay, let me describe the scene.
Chitra is sitting on the stage with a violinist and mridangist (drummer) on either side. I am the sutradhar– standing on the side with my laptop. There is a projector and screen behind Chitra for my Powerpoint presentation.
We start with a film clip from a popular film song. “Yeh dosti,” from Sholay. I play the film clip for one minute. Chitra hums the song, and segues into a Kabir bhajan; or a Hindustani song; or a Carnatic composition. She doesn’t sing the whole song– just for a couple of minutes. While she sings, I am explaining the raga and concepts of classical Indian music in the background. As a slide show. So the audience is listening to music and watching it being explained in the slide show at the back. At the end of Chitra’s singing, I come out in front and do my storytelling bit. I link poetry, music, and drama and do a 30-second monologue. Then we play another film clip. Say it is “Ek tha cholo re,” in Bengali. Chitra sings a song based on that raga, which happens to be Shankarabharanam. I explain the raga, and Tagore and his composition in my slide show. Then I walk up and do my storytelling. And so it goes. We pick songs from different parts of India, in different languages: a lot of Hindi songs, but also Tamil, Kannada, Bengali, Malayalam and Telegu.
The show is fast paced and multi-sensory. Music, slide show, storytelling, film clips…… We do this for an hour and it flies by. Organizations have actually come to us and said “One hour is too short. Make it longer.”
So we do this as a one-hour OR a 1.5 hour presentation.
Our Facebook page is here
If you “like” us, you can get updates of our gigs. No pressure!!
We did two shows for ISB’s Executive Education events. One in Bangalore and one in Hyderabad. Photos here
If you know of a cultural space, corporate group, or event management company that would be interested in a music-storytelling-slide presentation, please point them to us. Email:firstname.lastname@example.org or me.
Here are some photos from the event.