Morning Raga brings an evening full of bliss to New Jersey fusion lovers
The confluence of two genres Jazz and Carnatic music, can be extremely tricky to pull off.
Morning Raga, a fusion ensemble lead by Padmashri Smt. Sudha Raghunathan along with Amit Heri and 4 others did exactly that. They treated the New Jersey music lovers with a fast paced 3 hrs of East meets West, musical extravaganza. I have heard Sudha many many times performing classical concerts, Jugalbandhi’s and even singing film songs. But, today she certainly showed her flair for fusion too. Ofcourse she admitted that her foray into fusion did raise plenty of eyebrows in the conventional circuit, however judging by the crowd of youngsters, it seems clear that to preserve history, culture and legacy, change is inevitable.
Morning Raga during the evening? Certainly had people talking, but Sudha was quick to start the concert with the reason behind why it was called so. She explained that the concerts are based on the theme of the popular motion picture ’Morning Raga’ where the bollywood star Shabana Azmi gave a beautiful performance with the theme being the fusion of Indian and Western music.
I must complement the entire team of artists, who excelled in every way possible. The artists ensemble included;
– Sri. B V.Raghavendra Rao: Electric Violin
– Sri. Tiruvarur Vaidyanathan: Mridangam
– Sri. Keith Peters: Base Guitar
– Sri. Arun Kumar: Western Drums
– Sri. Guruprasad: Ghatam
The tempo was well maintained by each artist and the tani avartanam by the percussionists was simply electrifying.
Fusion music if not carefully composed can be disastrous, and Amit Heri along with others brought the fine nuances and delicate blends to complement Sudha’s vocal singing. The pieces were chosen carefully and woven very well with the western instruments.
The concert was organized by Jana Seva’s to raise funds for work with orphanages and old age homes in India. The interesting touch by organizers was the post concert dinner, where they had each artist sit in different tables so that music lovers could interact with them. Very good idea indeed.
To add to all this excitement, it was Tiruvarur Vaidyanathan 50th birthday, and a beautiful cake was cut, so that Vaidyanathan could celebrate this loved day with us.
Iceland Escapades – Jokulsarlon – A date with the Vatnajokull Glacier
On the Glacier after a beautiful 4X4 Super Jeep drive
Jokusarlon – A beautiful place to start your trips to see the Vatnajokull Glacier.
Jokulsarlon was made famous by the James Bond Movie, A View to Kill, which shot the 1st scene there.
This is the place where the Vatnajokull Glacier meets the sea.
Some Quick facts about this Glacier;
◾Largest glacier in Iceland
◾This Glacier covers 8% of the country or island
◾Largest icecap in Europe by volume
◾Second largest Glacier in Europe by area
◾The blue color indicates that the chunk of ice recently broke off the glacier and is due to the air bubbles trapped in the ice.
◾The thickest part of the Glacier is about 1KM thick
We took two approaches to experience what Jokulsarlon had to offer and to see the Glacier.
The best way to experience Vatnajokull Glacier and recognize the magnitude of this glacier is to go Snow mobiling or take a Super jeep 4X4 tour and to take a boat towards the glacier.
First we took a boat ride to get close to the icebergs and the glacier. We chose Ice Lagoon Adventure tours. We preferred them as they haad dependable boats and had a maximum passenger capacity of 10. Small sizes were important to me and was a factor on my decision.
The ultra strong Heavy Duty Zodiac boats and the Suzuki motors made sure that we could cruise around the lagoon in a safe way and enjoy all the things the glacier area had to offer. They get us very close to the Glaciers and along the way, we passed beautiful broken icebergs drifting towards the sea, giving us ample opportunities to take photographs and capture views of the glaciers at a fairly close distance. Many of the ice seen floating had black volcanic ashes mixed with the ice.
Birds resting on an Iceberg drifting towards the sea.
The 2nd way we enjoyed the Glacier is by taking a Super jeep to ride on the Glacier itself.
Its simply fascinating.
On the day we went, we could not see beyond 1 feet and we were almost driving blind. Phew! What an experience. To reach the glacier, we had to take what is called the F-Road. The F-Road is the road that is unpaved, and only drivers with a 4 wheel drive are allowed access to drive on this road.
It is hard to imagine, but I believe, there are several volcanoes underneath the ice cap. The last recent volcanic eruption occurred on May of 2011 with the plume reaching a height of 12.4 miles (20 km), disrupting air traffic in Europe for several days.
In fact the black color mixed in blue that you see on this glacier is the volcanic lava and dust.