South Indian Carnatic music
Carnatic music is an ancient musical tradition of South India that dates back for centuries. The veena, a stringed instrument belonging to the lute family, is primarily used in Carnatic music. It is believed to be a divine instrument of Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge and learning. The veena is not practiced by many musicians today, even in India, due to its complexity and the many years of hard work that it takes to control and master the instrument.
Hailing fron Mumbai, India, Srikanth Chary has been studying the veena for over four decades, first with Devakotttai Sri Narayana Iyenger, Kalyani Sama, A. Kanyakumari, and later with Lalgudi Jayaraman. She has been teaching the veena to students in the San Francisco Bay Area for over twenty-five years.
Srikanth was a master artist in ACTA’s Apprenticeship Program in 2011, with apprentice Ananya Ashok. The apprenticeship focused on increasing Ananya’s theoretical understanding of and improvisational skills on the veena, ultimately preparing her to perform in a concert setting.
Master Carnatic musician Srikanth Chary (left) and his apprentice Ananya Ashok, both on the veena. Photo courtesy of Srikanth Chary