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My husband Akhil and I are very fond of travel, and try to travel to different countries and experience different cultures of the world, whenever time and schedules permit. We often brainstorm on novel initiatives in music – and blending the passions of travel and music, has been a pet idea.
During a trip to Langkawi and Krabi (Malaysia and Thailand), I felt like singing cascading kalpana-svarams while we were swimming below a waterfall. When we jet-skied into the middle of the ocean, with waves crashing on us from all sides, I felt like singing bhrigas to accompany the rise and fall of the waves.
Being with nature, was taking me to a zone of deep musical spontaneity – and I thought that I should do a project to take music to spaces of breathtaking natural beauty. I serendipitously met Smt Renuka Vaidyanathan, an IIM-Bangalore alumnus who has set up Beingsattvaa, a vegetarian retreat center in Bali with the ethos of harmony and healing – and we together worked out a musical retreat in Bali along with Flute Vidvan J A Jayanth.
The concept is to present Carnatic music in pristine, acoustic form, in some of the world’s most spectacular locations of natural and architectural beauty – to a like-minded group of rasikas who leave behind rigours and worries, and enjoy a musical off-site in harmony with nature, culture, art and architecture.
We planned daily excursions and spontaneous music sessions – at rainforests, at the foothills of volcanoes, in palace courtyards and ancient temple precincts. We were honoured that acclaimed banker-philanthropist Padma Bhushan Sri Narayanan Vaghul inaugurated the retreat, and joined us for a part of the retreat.
A thematic video of the retreat, is below: