Whether you’re in the mood for a mosh pit, or would rather settle down with some soothing tunes after a long day, veena has got you covered. The meditative and curative sound of veena comes from chordophone instruments from the Indian subcontinent.
Veena Srivani, a well-known veena player from India, recently performed the ancient string instrument at the Regency Hall.
The classical music show was organised by Andhra Kala Vedika (AKV - Qatar), an exclusive community group for the Telugu expatriates hailing from Andhra Pradesh and living in Qatar.
The inaugural event ‘Prasthanam’ meaning ‘The Beginning’ was attended by over 350 people, including families. P Manikantan, President of Indian Cultural Centre, and Babu Rajan, President of Indian Community Benevolent Forum, were the chief guests on the occasion.
The inaugural event also featured performances by Jabadast, a TV comedian show team; Shyam Naveen magic show and local artistes. However, the major attraction of the event was the veena performance by Veena Srivani, who uses veena, the instrument, as her first name.
Srivani, who performed for the first time outside India, just loves the ancient sting instrument. She has constantly and vehemently been trying to popularise the instrument once again. “I started learning to play veena when I was only seven-years-old. Now, I am married with a daughter. I have just fallen in love with the instrument. For my passion, I have to face a love of negative remarks and criticism. People generally see veena as an ancient instrument of worship.
“Once I started playing the instrument, it actually begun to get popularity in my state. People became less negative and got interested in it.”
The instrumental player goes on to popularise it among the younger generation and continues to encourage kids to learn how to play it. “When I was facing negative remarks from people about my interest in veena, my husband told me to simplify the instrument for the masses. Then, I started playing all kinds of tunes – spanning from children rhymes, move songs from regions of India to classical music. It started attracting younger and older generations, alike, towards the instrument. I am using film songs like a chocolate as a bait to attract children towards the classical music, the real food.”
Srivani, who has also been a TV anchor in her own language, feels that she has actually regenerated the love of veena among people. “I get calls from people saying they have restarted playing the instrument. The person who manufactures veena for me has also told me that his business is on a rise now. I think it is regeneration of veena in our area.”
For Srivani, the sound of veena is like a sound of meditation. “I feel my veena talks to me. The instrument is like my best friend.”
“I think music in general has become very important than ever before. People now are stressed worldwide.”
She adds, “Music can really help these people relax and calm. It is all meditation. Further, if children learn music, it enhances their creativity and memory.”
This was her first ever performance outside India. “I chose to come to Qatar because the organiser told me that it is going to be my solo musical performance. Earlier, I had offers from other countries, but the organisers were not ready to give me maximum stage time. It is really fantastic to be here and see the warmth and hospitality of the people in Qatar.”
As far as her plans in future go, the artiste focuses on further popularising veena. “I am very selfish when it comes to veena. I just wanted to see the South Indian instrument going popular every day. I want to universalise the instrument. It has actually become very popular already.”
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