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Bhavan, West kensington, London
1st October 2011

A marvellous event attended by invitation, celebrating a young Indian violinist's 'rite of passage' (see arangetram) : Sweta, a 3rd year medical student, is a very promising violin student and I assure you of a wholesome evening of good music and great food. On behalf of the family and as her guru I take this opportunity and invite you to join us for the evening. - - a personal invitation from my side. Looking forward to your presence, Yours Musically, Balu Raguraman, Classical Indian Violinist, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, London Centre W14 9HE.

Arriving to a buzz of activity I found the large converted church in West London which is Bhavan UK filling for this concert; the audience, consisting of family friends, pupils in Balu Ragamuran's violin classes and others "networked", so I was told, spreading even up into the gallery!

Sweta was honoured to be supported for her concert by a generous group of percussionists on mridangam, ghatam (clay pot), morsing (Jew's harp) and tambura, and she acquitted herself with confidence and aplomb. It was a privilege to be invited; this was the first concert I had attended with violin centre stage, Sweta's guru sitting on stage in support (pictured, above R). More usually one hears it supporting and shadowing singers.

Decorations on stage were lavish, families with children came in national dress, a professional cinematic was in attendance and the whole atmosphere was exciting. A noteworthy feature (not usual at Bhavan or Darbar) was a lavish printed programme, with all the information about the items and performers one could wish, and such as one expects at western classical concerts. Introductions from the stage were in English because, so I was told, not everyone in the community speaks the South Indian language of this group.

I was unable to stay for the feast because of a prior commitment at Wilton's Music Hall, but hope that after Sweta qualifies as a medical doctor she will be able to find time to continue performing on the violin, that she may continue to appear at Bhavan and possibly participate in a future Darbar festival?

Peter Grahame Woolf

Balu Ragamuran has long been well known to followers of Indian classical music as a leading and well loved teacher of violin there; but he is a distinguished soloist in his own right - "arguably the most professional Indian solo violin artistand accompanist in the UK". . This month his artistry and that of his wife, the distinguished vina player Subathra Ragamuran,were generoulsy showcased, in a pair of recitals which, happily, were being videoed professionally, and everone present will hope that a DVD will emerge.


enjoyed an evening to celebrate their artistry and contributions to the Bhavan Centre, one of the most important centres for Indian arts outside India worldwide.

Tonight's concert was a veritable feast of Indian strings solos with formidable percussionists. With a break for reflreshments, it lasted from soon after 6 (Indian concerts don't usually begin on time) until about 10.30 !