Any dheiva karyam will be a testing effort before a milestone is achieved. Manimandapam in NJ is not exempted from that – progressing significantly – several hurdles are passed and few more miles for the finish line…A grand announcement will be made once the finish line is reached, which is not too far away! The core team is working hard to make things happen. They have been greatly blessed by Periyava where great musicians volunteer themselves to dedicate an evening for Mahaperiyava. Couple of weeks back, Sri Ganesh-Kumaresh did a musical evening for Mahaperiyava in Virginia. It is amazing how He connects all dots. In that series, Sri Rajhesh Vaidhya, who is in US for musical tour has agreed to dedicate an evening to Mahaperiyava though his music. The moment he came to know about mani mandapam project, he immediately volunteered to do this event – that is his bakthi towards acharya. Here are the details::
Date : Oct 17th (Saturday)
Venue: Sri Guruvayurappan Temple, Morganville, NJ
Time – 4 – 6.30 PM
Admissions : FREE
NJ and nearby devotees: Don’t miss! The sweetness of veena can’t be described in Words and that too krithis that are played on Periyava and that too from Rajhesh – better experience! Last year, I dearly missed his event in Chicago as I was in India that time…This will be such an electrifying performance. We need you all to attend in large numbers and contribute liberally towards the mani mandapam project. We need your support – it is your project!
Rajhesh besides being a great musician is a staunch devotee of Sri Kanchi Matam. He plays often in the matam; receives blessings from acharyas regularly. He may have performed all over the world, but his 1995 concert at Kanchipuram is what he holds close to his heart. His devotion to Mahaperiyava is well-said in his own words:
“Ghatam maestro Vikku Vinayakaram, who is a relative, took me to the holy city and I got a chance to perform on Periyava’s birthday. In fact, Vikku mama accompanied me on the ghatam. It was an unforgettable experience.”
Rajhesh – we are humbled by your bakthi towards Mahaperiyava & Sri Matam. Please play more songs on Periyava and that too my favorite song that I embedded here in NJ – for me! I am crazy about this song!
It is Navarathiri time. Like Brahmasri Anantharama Dikshitar says “பக்தியோட வான்னு அம்பாளைக் கூப்டா வந்துட மாட்டாளோ?? “. Let us call Periyava to come to NJ soon and bless the north american devotees here!
தென்னாடுடைய பெரியவா போற்றி
எந்நாட்டவர்க்கும் இறைவா போற்றி
சர்வக்ஞா சர்வவ்யாபி பெரியவா சரணம்
மாயப்பிறப்பறுக்கும் மஹா பெரியவா அடி போற்றி!
Hara Hara Sankara Jaya Jaya Sankara!
Folks around me normally tease me for watching this video endlessly – I am mostly addicted to this one – as it is dedicated to Him!! I have watched several of his videos in youtube – he plays at a blistering speed. Goddess Kalaivani has given him such a great gift. I made this posting almost 6 years back on his video….Here it is again!
Musical journey of Rajhesh – Thanks to Hindu for the interview
Veena’s whiz kid
A photograph of the Kanchi Mahaperiyava shares room space with a notation book of Tyagaraja’s Panchanaratna kritis and large poster of Michael Jackson. In the middle sits the audio equipment. This is where vainika Rajhesh Vaidhya gives vent to his creativity.
Rajhesh, who is making a name for himself as the artist whose “fingers move at a blistering pace on his electric and amplified stringed instrument,” is in the midst of coordinating his Anusham Chamber Concerts, practising for solo performances scheduled for the Season, and working on an album. “I love this hectic pace,” says the veena whiz kid during a chat. “This is what I know best.”
With ghatam and mridangam vidwan K. M. Vaidyanathan (who was a regular for artists such as MLV) for a father, music was a natural progression for Vaidhya. “I love playing the mridangam. But my mother Vasantha wanted me learn the veena,” and that’s how “I ended up as a vainika.” Helping him hone his skills as a child were gurus Jeyalakshmi and Rama Nambinarayanan.
His early years were spent in Delhi accompanying dancers including Swapna Sundari (“My debut was in Pondicherry when I was 13.”), Sonal Mansingh, Yamini Krishnamurthy and Bharti Shivaji. “I enjoyed every moment, but wanted to go solo.”
So his father contacted close friend, maestro Chitti Babu, and Rajhesh’s luck changed. So did his outlook to music. The two-and-a-half years of gurukula vasam with Chitti Babu was what “I call privilege. My years with him shaped me and my music. Do you know how many kritis I learnt from him?” A pregnant pause later he smiles, “Just one! ‘Etavunara’ in Kalyani… My time with my guru was spent in perfecting the art of plucking and raga playing!”
Slowly, Rajhesh found opportunities to perform solo. But playing during the Season eluded him. “I started approaching sabhas from 2002. It was finally in 2006 that I took a sabha stage in December. Of course, there was no looking back after that.” He may have performed all over the world, but his 1995 concert at Kanchipuram is what he holds close to his heart. “Ghatam maestro Vikku Vinayakaram, who is a relative, took me to the holy city and I got a chance to perform on Periyava’s birthday. In fact, Vikku mama accompanied me on the ghatam. It was an unforgettable experience.”
While Rajhesh venerates tradition, he is also a man of the future. He tries to find music in different things around him. “Do you know the strings on my veena are actually electric wires? During a trip to Germany, I saw a wire lying on the floor in my hotel room. It turned out to be an electric wire. I strung it on to my instrument and loved the sound it produced. Ever since, the wires have replaced the regular strings of my veena.”
Being a gadget freak was an advantage. “I had no clue about sound engineering or computers. But my thirst for experimentation helped me figure out how to marry Carnatic music with technology,” says the Pondicherry-born Delhi-bred Rajhesh.
Speed… that word shapes Rajhesh’s style. “I remember listening to a recording of the genius S. Balachander. In the end of the tape, there’s a gap of 45 seconds. Within that time, he played ‘Raghuvamsa Sudha.’ Now, imagine at what speed he must have played!” Another artist who left a mark on Rajhesh’s mind was L. Shankar. “His violin tone was out of this world.” Also, the masterful fingering techniques of Mandolin Shrinivas, and the powerful vocals of Dr. Balamuralikrishna motivate this 38-year-old, whose latest acquisition is a tattoo of a veena on his arm. “If it is possible to play like that on those instruments, then it is most definitely possible on the veena,” he says, adding, “I play to satisfy my soul.”