The second and final volume of his CD recording ‘Vismaya – An Indo Celtic Musical Journey’ featuring the unique genre of nottusvara sahityas composed by Muthuswamy Dikshitar, one of India’s foremost classical music composers, researched and produced by Kanniks Kannikeswaran was released at the Zoellner Arts Center, Lehigh University by Swami Dayananda Saraswati.
A number of popular folk and other western melodies (primarily Irish and Scottish) arrived in the India during the rule of the British East India Company. Composer Muthuswami Dikshitar (1775-1835) wrote lyrics in classical Sanskrit in an unprecedented manner to some of these tunes when he heard them played by the British bands at Fort St. George, Madras, India. The result is a set of 39 compositions that are referred to as the nottusvara sahityas.
The beauty of this genre of music is that it is neither completely Indian nor completely western, yet it is uniquely both Indian and Western at the same time. Given the easily accessible nature of the music it easily serves as ideal introductory material to the world of Indian classicism for young students of Indian origin residing in the western hemisphere.
This has been the subject of Kanniks Kannikeswaran’s research for the last three years. His award winning paper on this topic was presented at the prestigious Chennai Music Academy during the annual music conference in 2007. Kanniks Kannikeswaran released the first volume of this music featuring 19 of these compositions back in March 2008. The second volume was released Oct 4, 2008 at Lehigh University, Bethlehem PA.
Titled ‘Vismaya – An Indo Celtic Musical Journey’ this collection features the nottusvara sahityas recorded with Indian voices and primarily Celtic instrumentation.
Vismaya is a historic recording. It represents the first time that the entire genre of music has been recorded and published. Music written in the Indian notation is available for 38 of the 39 compositions. The 39th composition has been arranged by Kannikeswaran to the melodic contour of an ancient band tune in a similar genre. Dr. Pappu Venugopala Rao of the American Institute of Indian Studies describes the recording as ‘a marvelous effort and a collection to be owned and cherished by every musician’.
Kanniks has been sharing the results of his work through lecture concerts at various venues in the United States. He will be giving presentations on this topic at selected venues in India later this year.
Kannikeswaran can be reached at 513 315 9286.