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The Kronos Quartet along with Asha Bhosle have been picked for a Grammy Award.

In August 2004, Khaas Baat wrote about the Kronos Quartet’s CD, "You’ve Stolen My Heart: Songs from R D Burman’s Bollywood" with Asha Bhosle. Now, that album has been picked for a Grammy Award in the Category 73 (best contemporary world music album).

Of the 12 tracks on the album, Bhosle has sung eight, including the ever-popular Dum Maro dum (Hare Rama Hare Krishna), Chura Liya hai, (Yaadon Ki Baraat), Piya Tu ab to aaja, (Caravan), Mera Kuchh Saaman, (Ijaazat), and two Bengali songs.

The album is produced by the California-based quartet group, which is made up of David Harrington, John Sherba (violins), Hank Dutt (viola) and Jennifer Culp (cello).

Also nominated for Grammy are the two Shankar daughters: Norah Jones and half-sister Anoushka Shankar.

Jones was picked in category 8 (best pop collaboration with vocals) for the song “Virginia Moon” from the album “In Your Honor” with the Foo Fighters and Shankar in category 73 (best contemporary world music album) for the album “Rise.”

The 48th annual GRAMMY Awards, set for Wednesday, Feb. 8, at Staples Center in Los Angeles, will be broadcast live on CBS TV from 8 to 11:30 p.m.

For more information on the Kronos Quartet, click on


Forget Norah Jones and Anoushka Shankar for a change. The two half-sisters may be popular and well known in music circles but perhaps not enjoyable enough as Kiran Ahluwalia for Greg Kot.

The Chicago Tribune music critic picked the self-titled album by the Canadian singer as one of his top 20 music albums of 2005. “The native of India sings in a centuries-old style of romantic song known as ghazal, modernized into rapturous pop confections,” wrote Kot, while offering his reason for the 10-track album pick.

The 10-track CD, which mixes ghazals with Punjabi folk songs, is Ahluwalia’s first international release. Previously, she has had two CDs released in Canada. “I am quite happy that even people in Tucson, Arizona are buying my CD,” she says. “It’s very exciting to notice this as I continue to perform at concerts in places such as Boston, Chicago, and Madison, Wisconsin.”

A native of Bihar, Ahluwalia has studied classical music since she was just 7 years old. After immigrating to Canada with her parents, she spent nearly a decade visiting India off and on to learn classical music and ghazals from such maestros as Padma Talwalkar and Vithal Rao. “I had earned an MBA and even began to work as a bond trader in Toronto before I quit my job to become a full-time student of music,” she says.

Singing ghazals for Bollywood down the road has crossed her mind. “Sure, why not?” she asks. “Anyone who is Indian would say yes to Bollywood since the Bombay film industry offers a huge exposure. Besides, I am always open to any new experiences.”

A group of artistes under the banner RasaJhari presented the dance ballet “Neeharika” in Tallahassee and Jacksonville recently. RasaJhari is looking to perform in other Florida cities.
Story provided by Krish Seetharaman

India Association of Tallahassee sponsored a dance ballet "Neeharika" presented by a group of artistes under the banner of RasaJhari, on Oct. 2 in R.A Gray auditorium. The proceeds of the show were donated to Katrina Relief fund.

The theme of the dance ballet was appealing in that the wisp of a cloud "Neeharika" questions the all-knowing Sun, about the purpose of life. The ballet represents the five elements of nature, sky, earth, wind, fire and the water. All these elements are constant while the emotional entanglements are fleeting.

Neeharika learns that her attraction to the Moon is not love but that her companion in life to accomplish her purpose is the wind. These two together in the finale shower to give life to the earth beings.

The music by Srinivas Kishore of Tallahassee is electronic and scintillating. The choreography by Subashree Narayanan of Jacksonville was appealing in abhinaya and succeeded in bringing out the simple and elegant lyrics in Hindi by Dr. Uma Eyyunni of St. Augustine.

The dancers traveling from Atlanta, Jacksonville and Tallahassee, (Gayatri Vasant, Sasi Arun, Manjula Chandran, Sangeetha Subramanian and Preethy Pynadyth) with supporting budding artistes, mainly based on Bharat Natyam style, offered a visual feast. The highlights of the show were the costumes, which had a touch of novelty added to basic Bharat Natyam style.

The electronic props and the animations provided by Sankar Krishnan and Krish Seetharaman of Jacksonville made the presentation appealing. All in all the show was short and sweet with a novel yet universal theme. RasaJhari is looking to perform in other cities of Florida in Hindi at present and in Telugu/Tamil and Kannada by the early part of 2006.

The ballet was re-staged in Jacksonville on Dec. 10 as part of fundraiser for Hindu Society of Northeast Florida. It was well received by the audience and everybody praised the show.

For show details, contact Dr. Uma Eyyunni at or Krish Seetharaman at


Bharatanatyam is an artistic yoga for revealing the spiritual through the corporeal. It is the most widely practiced of classical dance forms in India, which are based on Natya Shastra the Bible of the classical dance forms in India.

The term "Bharatanatyam" was introduced in the mid-’30s by E. Krishna Iyer and later spread by Rumkminidevi Arundale, and is thought to derive from the four syllable BHAva (_expression) Raga (music) TAla (rhythm) NATYAM (dramatic act or dance). Bharatanatyam comprises of three aspects.

1. Nritta (pure dance, i.e. rhythmic elements);

2. Nritya (combination of Nritta and Natya);

3. Natya (dramatic art, _expression through gestures, poses, mime).

Bharatanatyam used to be and is still mostly performed by women dancers. In the first half of the 19th century, Bharatanatyam was revitalized and redefined by the contributions of four talented brothers known today as the Tanjore Quartet: Chinniah, Sivanandam, Ponniah and Vadivelu. They organized the basic Bharatanatyam movements of pure dance into a progressive series called Adavus.

A student first learns these adavus (basic) steps, which are then combined into Jatis. Today, a recital commences with the rhythmic utterances of voice and drum in the invocation the Alaripu, both of blessing and of welcoming. The dancer offers namaskar (salutation) to the Gods above the head, the gurus in front of the face and the audience in front of the chest. This also is a warm-up piece to prepare the body for the following hours of Bharatanatyam performance.

Next, the dancer dances to the mood of the music in the Jatiswaram in varied ragas with the swaras and jatis in combined patterns. From the rhythm, she swiftly moves into abhinaya or _expression in her next dance called the Shabdam.She is now beginning to transcend the technique. Through this Bahinayam or facial _expression, she tells the tale of Rama or Krishna or Shiva, but it must be told in a measured and disciplined manner. It is in the Shabdam that the dancer begins to show her knowledge and all that she has assimilated.

It is after mastering this discipline that she dances the Varnam, which is a living river that holds together movement and interpretation. The Varnam is the most important dance in a Bharatanatyam repertoire. It is here that the dancer is tested for her capacity to perform both abhinaya and nritta and also for her tremendous strength of emotional _expression and physical exertion required to perform this piece. Because of the depth of thought necessary in this item, the more mature the artist, the more exciting it is to watch. The artist who is more experienced will bring a fresh wealth of ideas to the composition. It becomes so personal and intimate an _expression that the one who sees often becomes the one who seeks.

After the Varnam, the tempo of the performance slows down. In the Padam, the dancer narrates _expression of divine love or pathos or pangs of separation in love. Padams have Nayak (Heroes, Supreme lover, Divine Lord) and Nayika ( Heroine, The yearning soul). The heroine will talk to her friend Sakhi) and narrate her feelings towards the hero. Expressions are given foremost importance while narrating these Padams.

The Tillana is usually the last item in any Bharatanatyam performance where the dancer abandons herself purely to rhythm and movement. It is full of complicated movements and postures. It is mainly an Nritta piece which might have meaningful lyrics at the end for which abhinaya is shown.

With a prayer called the Mangalam, the dancer ends the recital.

Training for Bharatanatyam took seven years under the direction of great well- learned and dedicated Gurus. If we approach Bharatanatyam with humility, learn it with dedication and practice it with devotion to God, the great beauties of this dance can be portrayed with all the purity of the spirit.

Jyothi Venkatachalam, director of Abhyasa School Of Dance, Club Tampa Palms, offers classes in Bharat Natyam, traditional folk dances, Indian percussion instruments (Mridangam, Dholak, Ghatam, Kanjira, Morsingh and Konakol). She can be reached at (813) 977-9039 or (813) 404-7899 or via e-mail at

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