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Sarada Sangeeth Sanghitha, a classical music performance at the Elphinstone theatre on March 28:

Anil Mihiripenna - Sri Lanka's leading flautist cum esraj player

The urge to make music is very ancient. Its origin is almost certainly older than painting, sculpture, drama, poetry or any other means man has found for expressing his thoughts and feelings. It evolved from the Classical period,1750 to 1820. A distinct feature of this form of music is its simple, clear tunes, balanced themes and defined harmony. The beauty of Classical music lies in its tuneful elegance.

Anil Mihiripenna is one of the foremost classical musicians in the world who had excelled in the esraj and flute.

He had held many an audience captive with his versatility, through the haunting notes escaping from his flute and esraj. Mihiripenna graduated from the Vishva Bharati University in India, better known as Shantiniketan. He learnt to play the esraj under Maestro Ashish Chandra Benerji, flute from Pandit Gowr Goswami and vocal from Pandith Jamini Kantha Chakrawarthi.

The inspiring musician had toured many countries like USA, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and India. He had composed music for several ballets, documentary films and feature films. His exceptional talents in music had earned him recognition as Sri Lanka's leading flautist cum esraj player.

He founded Sharada Kala Nikethanaya, an institution that propagates Oriental Classical music among the society in Sri Lanka. The institution will be marking its 25th anniversary with Sarada Sangeeth Sanghitha, a classical music performance at the Elphinstone theatre on March 28 at 6 p.m. Alok Prasad, the High Commissioner of India will be the Chief Guest at the event.

The show is open to public and participants will be treated to a variety of Classical and Semi-classical pieces as well as vocal and instrumental musical items. Three orchestras will take part in the performances and one of them will be purely made up of Tabla, Udana, Ketaka Mahima.

The concert will open with a song composed in Sanskrit titled Hansa Vahini. This item will be followed by a pure classical item, Khyal (imagination) and Tharana.

The members of the staff will take part in a Gassel song set in Urdu. The students will join in the item with Kathak and Bharata Natyam performances, the devotional dances attributed to god.

The height of the event will be the orchestration by Mihiripenna on Ramya, Suramya and Subha, the theme evolving from the three places built for prince Siddhartha by his father, King Suddodana. It is the first time, perhaps, in the world that a composition had been based on this aspect.

Legend reveals that these three luxurious palaces were built as the dwelling place for the prince for the summer, winter and the rainy seasons. Ramya composes of soothing music while Suramya and Subha differ in music to signify the varying characteristics of the seasons.

Rag Mal Kaunse had been used to signify the summer followed by a style of music which is different from Rag. Mihiripenna had included Ragas such as Meg Maihar which has a strong link with the rainy season signifying the fact that the habitants of the palace dedicated to that season should not feel the impact of the season.

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