Madras Youth Choir hosts Juilliard415 during their debut tour
Madras Youth choir debunks myths associated with choral music by blending Indian folk songs and Western harmonies
While the stage maybe set for the allure of the Western classical overtures of Juilliard415, the Madras Youth Choir will celebrate the musical history of the Indian classical form through the Western techniques of counterpoint and harmony. Playing host to the ensemble at the Museum Theatre tomorrow, the choir will open the set with a 30-minute performance in varied Indian languages.
“It is a common misconception that choral groups are limited to churches. It all comes down to how the music has been arranged,” says S K Raja, a bass singer in the choir. As one of the oldest surviving Indian choral groups set up in 1971, the troupe continues with the structure instituted by the late MB Srinivasan. “A group of 30 voices are organised to produce the effect of an orchestra sans the Western musical instruments. The only supporting instruments that we use are the harmonium and tabla,” says the 65-year old PC Ramakrishna, who has been a part of the group for the last 25 years. Amidst a night of Western classical music, the group will perform a vocal rendition of Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt’s Pathway to Peace, a traditional Telugu number, besides the musical interpretations of Subramania Bharati’s poems.
Even as the association with the Juilliard ensemble acts as an impetus for new members to join the group, their group’s biggest fillip yet will be their performance at the Kennedy Centre for Performing Arts, Washington, in association with the touring company Classical Movements on July 3. “We will be one among 20 other choral groups who will perform to commemorate the birth centenary of John F Kennedy,” enthuses Ramakrishna.