Friday, March 24, 2017


                                            Courtesy of University School of Music

The School of Music presents a concert of Karnatak South Indian classical music and Bharatanatyam classical dance on the University of Oklahoma Norman campus as part of the Masala World Music Series. The concert is scheduled for 8 p.m. March 24, in Sharp Concert Hall of the Catlett Music Center and features two regional artists, Lavanya Raghuraman, of Stillwater, OK and Poovalur Sriji from Denton, TX.


An educational workshop is scheduled for 4 p.m. March 24, and is open to the public with complimentary admission. Both artists are quite articulate about their music and dance and able to connect meaningfully with audiences.


Karnatak Music features vocalist Raghuraman accompanied by Sriji on the mrdangam barrel drum. The duo will play classic compositions from the 18th to 20th century repertoire of karnatak classical music of South India.


Karnatak music features melodic modes called raga and rhythmic cycles called tala. Performance of songs in the genres of kriti and varnam praise the array of Brahminical Hindu deities such as Vishnu, Genesh and Saraswathi. The lyrics of the pieces in the languages of Sanskrit, Telugu, and Tamil are introduced and followed by forms of melodic and rhythmic improvisation. These include alapana, free metered exposition of the raga mode, niraval, expansive improvisation on a line of text, svara kalpana, improvisation on melodic pitch names (sa ri ga ma pa da ni) and finally tani avartanam, drum solo. Some of the pieces will only include a short alapana exposition of the raga, while the third piece will include multiple forms of improvisation.


Bharatanatyam Dance is the world renowned classical dance of South India. Once called nautch or sadir, its control and repertoire shifted in the mid-20th century from the matrilineal hereditary dance families of Devadasis, such as those of the renowned Tanjavur Balasaraswati (1918-1984) family, who performed in palaces and temples, to the middle class Madras Brahmin community led by Rukmani Devi Arundale (1904-1986).


Devi established the Kalakshetra School reviving the dance with the repertoire focused on the deity Nataraj, a more masculine or athletic style with extensive use of jathiswaram (pure dance without emotion), and calling it bharatanatyam (literally India’s dance). Balasaraswati’s descendants continue to perform their family repertoire focused on Krishna, using the erotic sringara rasa or mood, and deep expressions of bhava and abhinaya (expressive storytelling using hand and face gestures). While, many other Devadasis either stopped dancing or became singers or instrumentalists, such as the famous M.S. Subbulakshmi.


Raghuraman, performs the vocal and dance and is the founder-director of Alapana Arts, a music and dance institution based in Oklahoma. She is a leading disciple of the esteemed Dhananjayans and trained in the 'kalakshetra' style of Bharatanatyam. She is granddaughter of Sangita Kalanidhi Dr. S. Ramanathan and trained in karnatak music by her mother, Guru Smt. R. Banumathy. A gifted individual with multi-faceted talents, she is an accomplished bharatanatyam dancer, karnatak music vocalist and violinist rolled into one. A critic writing for The Hindu newspaper describes Lavanya as “a graceful and competent dancer with clear footwork.”  Lavanya’s performances at prestigious cultural venues and festivals in Singapore, Malaysia, India, Australia, and the USA have received wide acclaim and laudable reviews in The Hindu.  She is the recipient of the title of “Natya Chudar” from Kartik Fine Arts, Chennai, as well as “Natya Visharad” from SIFAS, Singapore. Following her formal Arangetram, Lavanya’s solo performances had their beginnings at The Natyanjali Festival, Chidambaram and she has performed regularly at the Chennai Music and Dance Festival for over a decade. As a choreographer, her thematic productions on unique themes such as “Nagareshu Kaanchi,” “Alchemy of Opposites,” and “Neythal” at Esplanade, Singapore, have been internationally acclaimed and presented to sold-out audiences. Lavanya recently completed a Singapore-India-USA tour of her latest production ‘Retracting the Path – Margam’ which premiered at Kalakshetra, Chennai among other prestigious global venues. Through lecture demonstrations, master classes, workshops and seminars at institutes of higher education including the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music, National University of Singapore, University of Central Oklahoma, and University of Oklahoma, Lavanya shares her thoughts on karnatak music and bharatanatyam and their propagation in the purest form. She is also a graduate of The Fuqua School of Business, Duke University and is currently based in Stillwater, Oklahoma with her husband, Dr. Balaji Jayaraman.


Sriji, performs on the Mrdangam drum and is a prolific composer, performer, educator, and 'A' top grade artist recognized by All India Radio. He studied South Indian classical karnatak music from his father P.A. Venkataraman. For over four decades Sriji has performed with the leading artist of both South and North Indian classical traditions. Since his move to the United States in the 1980s, he has performed and recorded with artists such as Sir Yehudi Menuhin, Bela Fleck, Mark O’ Connor, John Bergamo, and Glen Velez to name a few. Sriji has received several awards from leading institutions, and the album Tabula Rasa, for which he composed and performed with Bela Fleck, V. M. Bhatt and J.P. Chen, was nominated for a Grammy. He has composed many pieces portraying the South Indian idioms and is the founding member of the world fusion group 'Brahmah'. He also founded and directed the 'SNEW' and the 'South Indian Cross Cultural Ensemble’, the first such world music ensembles in United States. He is currently a faculty member at the University of North Texas, where he conducts “the bridge” ensemble. He has also taught at CalArts and San Diego State University.


Tickets for the Karnatak South Indian classical music and Bharatanatyam classical dance concert may be purchased in advance for best prices by phone at (405) 325-4101, or in person through the OU Fine Arts Box Office, located in the Catlett Music Center, 500 W. Boyd St., Norman.

Courtesy of OU School of Music

Thursday, March 23, 2017


This spring, Downtown Oklahoma City, Inc. and SandRidge Energy Corp. will partner to bring back the popular lunchtime concert series, SoundBites at Kerr Park in downtown Oklahoma City’s Central Business District.

SoundBites will include live music, yard games, and a food truck at each of four monthly events, and attendees are also encouraged to bring their lunch to the park on concert days. Picnic blankets and bottled water will be provided at no charge. Each of the free SoundBites events will feature performances by artists from The Academy of Contemporary Music at the University of Central Oklahoma (ACM@UCO) in Bricktown.

Event Dates                           Performers                           Food Truck

March 28                               Grant Adams                         Saucee Sicilian

April 25                                  TBD                                         The Loaded Bowl

May 23                                  TBD                                         Taste of Soul Egg Rolls

June 27                                  TBD                                         Let’s Do Greek

Spokies will be offering "No Usage Fees" during the event. From 11:30am-1:30pm, enjoy no usage fee bike rides using the promo code: 20170328. For more information about Spokies stations, visit

This event open to the public at no charge, and is suitable for all ages to attend. For more information about SoundBites, including the artist lineup, visit


Located at 102 Robert S. Kerr Ave., between Robinson and Broadway, Kerr Park is a newly-renovated space that is maintained through a partnership with the City of Oklahoma City Parks and Recreation Department and SandRidge Energy. SandRidge is a proud sponsor of SoundBites and the annual Santa Run events in conjunction with Downtown Oklahoma City, Inc.

Downtown Oklahoma City, Inc. (DOKC) is a non-profit organization that promotes and markets downtown Oklahoma City in conjunction with numerous downtown stakeholders. DOKC also manages the downtown Business Improvement District, funds public art projects, and holds annual events. For more information, visit

Courtesy of Downtown Oklahoma City, Inc.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

               NIGHT'S DREAM

Courtesy of Oklahoma City Ballet

Just off the smashing success of their recent performance of "The
Sleeping Beauty," Oklahoma City Ballet will perform "A Midsummer Night’s Dream" April
21-23, 2017 at the Civic Center Music Hall in Oklahoma City.
The ballet is set to Felix Mendelssohn’s lush score and includes selections from Benjamin Britten.
Artistic Director Robert Mills brings Shakespeare's classic comedy to life for this world
premiere ballet. The adventures and misadventures of a group of mortals and
immortals in their quest for love will be told with original choreography from Mr. Mills
featuring the beautiful company artists supplemented with student dancers from The
Dance Center of Oklahoma City Ballet as bugs and fireflies.
“I’m proud to present this work based on one of Shakespeare’s greatest comedies. I
am having a wonderful time with the dancers creating it,” said Mills. “This version will
be fun, fast paced, lighthearted, and all wrapped up in one act.”
Opening the evening will be a world premiere work titled "If These Walls Could Talk" from
Denver choreographer Sarah Tallman. Set to Robert Schumann piano music, If These
Walls Could Talk depicts an emotional story of love, loss, and connection between
individuals and community. Though the point of departure is the retelling of a fictional
story during a particularly destructive time, the ballet also communicates a wide range
of emotions that awakens us to the reality of the human spirit.
The family-friendly double-bill ballet will run approximately two hours with one
For more information, visit, or call 405-848-TOES (8637). Tickets
are on sale now and start at $35.
Courtesy of Oklahoma City Ballet