Flowing with the Rhythm: A Musical Journey with KTP Radhika

Sanskritam, held on October 22nd, 2021, was conducted by KTP Radhika. A renowned art journalist and Carnatic vocalist, Ms. Radhika first started learning music at the tender age of eight and had her first-ever stage performance at fifteen. Although she stepped into journalism through the technology department, her true passion for Indian classical music compelled her to fuse her profession with her art. Currently an editor at the Indian Art Review, a heritage and culture website dedicated to exploring the true Indian artistic legacy, Ms. Radhika began performing at music festivals and concerts whilst pursuing a career in journalism.

As Ms. Radhika commenced the session, she asked the students about their definition of music. She discussed the origins of music and said that it was “an emotion, an experience, and a journey of self-expression.” Quoting Will Durant, she explained how “early humans danced before they learnt to walk and sang before they could talk.” That was how embedded art was into our nature and expression. Humans observed sounds of nature and started reproducing them, often to enchant the opposite sex or simply to have fun; they later made instruments that could replicate the sounds even better. Then, there was no turning back. “The rules of music are universal; you can be from anywhere and communicate through music,” she said, explaining the inclusivity of music.

The vocalist, then, dove into the history and technicalities of Indian classical music, especially the Carnatic form. “At the beginning of the 13th century, the Vedas gave birth to the seven basic notes of music, and in a few decades, we had the Sangitaratnakara (meaning the ocean of music and dance) one of the first-ever, most important texts on musicology in India. With the Bhakti Movement gaining force, sages started making and propelling music.”

Ms. Radhika explained the five essential elements of Carnatic music – Shruti, Swara, Raga, Gamaka, and Thala. A video illustrating the process of learning classical music was screened and deeply elucidated all the stages – Manodharam, Raga Alapana, Kalpanaswaram, Niravil, and Ragam Tanam Pallavi (RTP). To further enhance understanding of Carnatic music, she advised that aspiring journalists should explore a Carnatic Concert to gain insights into how musicians work as communicators.

After the screening of one of her interviews which shed light on how an art journalist worked, Ms. Radhika performed a Kriti for the students. She concluded the session by inviting all the students intrigued by art journalism to learn and work with her.

Esha Sharma
(Batch 2023)