Group brings Indian culture to Tempe

Published On:
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Printer-friendly version

A group of ASU students is promoting the diversity of Indian culture by bringing popular Indian artists to Arizona.

The Society for Promotion of Indian Classical Music and Culture is an international organization dedicated to promoting India’s rich cultural heritage through showcasing classical Indian music, dance and art exhibitions.

“Here people really don’t get exposed the culture that is back in India,” said society President Viju Ravichandran. “We want to recreate some of the same feelings that we had in India.”

Each semester the society hosts popular Indian classical music concerts that feature acclaimed Indian artists.

The group hosted its first major event of the semester, an Indian classical fusion concert, Sunday night.

The artists are professionals from India who fuse Indian classical music, jazz and rock with Indian percussion, Events Coordinator Srinath Kasturi-Rangan said.

The concert had an audience of almost 400 people, of which more than half were ASU students, Kasturi-Rangan said.

“The concert was a very different experience for all of us,” the bioengineering graduate student said. “We have organized a lot of East-meets-West events in the past, but this was the first time the same artist played both western and Indian classical music.

“It was a unique opportunity for all of us to listen and the artists, in their own words, ‘got a great vibration from the audience.’ ”

After each concert the artists are asked to give a lecture demonstration about their music and cultural background.

At the lecture Monday morning, the Indian classical artists played one classical piece and explained to the audience how the songs in Indian classical music are structured.

The percussionists gave a live demonstration, comparing their instruments to western percussion instruments, Kasturi-Rangan said.

“The lecture demonstrations are a way for the artist’s knowledge to get transferred to the students,” Public Relations Coordinator Harish Krishnamoorthi, said.

Krishnamoorthi, a second-year electrical engineering graduate student, said he believes the lectures provide people with the unique opportunity to learn about Indian culture from some of India’s most prominent artists.

One of the society’s major goals is to promote local artists and provide them with a platform to showcase their talent.

The club hosts dance recitals, musical ensembles and jugalbandhi concerts, which give students and local artists a chance to express themselves.

“There are a lot of students who want some kind of an opportunity to showcase their art so we want to give them that opportunity,” said Ravichandran, a second-year electrical engineering graduate student.

Being a part of the group teaches its members valuable life lessons, said Vice President Shanta Boddapati, a third-year chemical engineering graduate student.

“Organizing a concert teaches you a lot about life because it requires you to work with many different types of people, which broadens your horizons and gives you different perspectives,” said Boddapati.

“Being a part of [the society] has made us better people,” she said.

Reach the reporter at lauren.gambino@asu.edu.