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Carnatic Music Idol Junior Competition Held In Atlanta


Carnatic Music Association of Georgia (CAMAGA) treated classical music enthusiasts in Atlanta to a unique experience, Carnatic Music Idol Junior competition for children in North America presented by Jaya TV, in association with Cleveland Thyagaraja Festival and Maximum Media at the Shakti Mandir of Atlanta on September 10. 

The competition was held in four cities, Atlanta, Chicago, New York/New Jersey, San Jose across the U.S, hosted and organized by a local Carnatic Music organization from each city. The program kicked off in Atlanta with 44 participants judged in age based categories. The Judging panel comprised of well-accomplished musicians and legends in their fields, K.N. Shashikiran, S. Sowmya, Neyveli and R.Santhanagopalan.

K.N. Shashikiran, a child prodigy was able to identify Ragas (melodies), demonstrate complicated Talas (rhythms) and answer other technical questions pertaining to Carnatic music at the age of two. He is accredited with over 1000 concerts including lectures-demos, jugalbandis and fusions in prominent organizations in India, USA, Canada, Singapore, Malaysia. He was awarded the ‘Rani Sethulakshmi Bai Memorial Award in 1990’, the Best Pallavi Singer for his concert at the Rasika Ranjani. He is the producer, author and the spirit behind the world's first interactive and encyclopedic CD-ROM on Carnatic music titled "Nadanubhava - The horizons of Carnatic music". He is also the joint creator and developer of the world's first twin-pack VCD on Carnatic music titled "Nadopasana - My own Carnatic tutor ", a self-help guru with Karaoke features. 

With various titles and honors to her credit, Soumya is also a distinguished Alumnus of Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Chennai. She co-founded Carnatica, an online institution dedicated to classical music and dance instruction and also co-authored Nadanubhava. ‘Sangeetha Choodamani’ from Sri Krishna Gana Sabha, Chennai, ‘Sahithyapriya’ from Jan Kalyan (Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham), Kanchipuram are some of the titles accredited to Soumya. 

Neyveli R.Santhanagopalan is known for his unique style, which is widely acclaimed by connoisseurs and layman alike. ‘Isai peroli’ by the Karthik Fine Arts Society is one of the many honors he has received. Santhanagopalan’s ‘Sri Chandrasekhara Gurukrupa’ imparts music to potential students who seek his guidance in India and abroad. Some of his students like Chinmaya sisters, Sriram Parthasarathy, Srividya Venkatachalam and Nandhini Ramamurthy have already begun to make their mark.

The participants were asked to be prepared with three krithis/keerthanas in three different ragas to perform for the competition. The judges selected any part from any of the 3 listed items for the preliminary and main stage selections. 10 contestants were selected from each center, for the final round held in the Bay Area.

In a brief conversation with the judges, Soumya explained the role of a teacher in a student’s musical journey. Quoting from a Sanskrit sholka, aacharya's paadam aditya, she said ‘25% comes from the teacher, 25% is from interacting with your peers, 25% from listening and learning from music concerts, and the last 25% only time can tell. ‘ When asked about what the judges looked for in a contestant to proceed further, Shashikiran opined that in a contest setup the choice is based on relative performance, so they look for a spark and how best they can bring out the contestant’s talent to comfortably enter the next round. ‘Intuition should be there - then they should be become an institution.’ Neyveli R.Santhanagopalan quoted.

Some of the contestants like Shree Varshenee. Haritha, Akhila, Anusha, Smruti, Shriraja were in agreement that the contest was a learning experience for them. Ruhi Iyer, one of selected contestants was overwhelmed as she shyly posed for pictures with her mother. , 
The contestants who made it to the final from Atlanta are Aadith Moorthy, Shreya Ganeshan, Veena Ganapathy, Shilpa Sadagopan, Ruhi Iyer, Priyadarshini Rathakrishnan, Aditya Krishnaswamy, Akhila Eechampati, Shruthi Santhanam, Supritha Jegannathan and Anuradha Rao. CAMAGA President, Ram Sriram said he was very pleased to host the event in Atlanta. While the finals are already over in the Bay Area, you can learn more about the winner and the contest on Jaya TV which will air the program in November. 

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