The Carnatic tradition’s next generation

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Nirmala Rajasekar, pictured above in a photo captured at her home in Plymouth by MPR’s Jeff Thompson, jokes that even as a toddler she was a performer, always grasping any object that looked like a microphone and singing.

Rajasekar is a master of the vina, the stringed instrument she’s playing for her students. She’s also a vocalist as she plays and sings music from the centuries old Carnatic tradition of southern India where she was born.

This afternoon on All Things Considered in a new episode of Minnesota Sounds and Voices, I’ll report how Rajasekar is passing along her voluminous musical knowledge.

The recipients include her daughter, 16-year-old Shruthi Rajasekar, who besides listening to her mother’s musical tradition from birth, is also studying voice and piano and Western classical music.

Rajasekar and her students perform tonight at the Plymouth public library. On Saturday she and others perform in Maple Grove at the Hindu Society of Minnesota in an event honoring Indian classical music composers.

Both events are a relatively rare opportunity to hear Rajasekar in our backyard because she hits the road soon to visit students around the country and then visit India as well, trips that take her out of state for awhile.

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