Students and Professionals Create Powerful Global Rhythms

September 13, 2010

Srinivas Krishnan

Music enables the world to harmonize as one people and protect each other from tragedies. Nine years ago, India mourned the tragedies of 9/11 with the United States. On this year’s anniversary, Srinivas Krishnan connected with Mary Baldwin University to spark the annual Global Rhythms concert.

A full house gathered in Mary Baldwin’s Francis Auditorium as Krishnan, artistic director of Global Rhythms and artist-in-residence at the college’s Spencer Center for Civic and Global Engagement, presented “Shakti Power,” a free public concert.

Shakti is a Sanskrit word meaning sacred force or empowerment and is the personification of divine feminine creative power, a perfect accompaniment to the 2010–11 college-wide theme, Power.

Vishaal Sapuram on the chitravina

Krishnan combined the students’ strengths with his own artistic blend to bring new expressions of power. Beginning with simple humming and the plunking of a few notes, the intensity of the music grew from a mix of historic and modern Indian beats.

The performance inspired listeners to connect with the music, traveling beyond the confines of the college walls to the power of world harmony. Joining Krishnan was Vishaal Sapuram, one of only a few musicians in the world to play the chitravina, a rare 21-stringed slide-lute. Sapuram also sang Krithi, a Carnatic vocal piece.

Archana Balasubramanian, Sunaina Prekumar, and Priyanka Chandrasekaran — who participated last week in an on-campus panel discussion about young businesswomen in India — spiced things up with modern vocal song, “Oh La La La,” from the film, “Slumdog Millionaire.” Joining them were Mary Baldwin students Krittika Krishnan and Priyanka Nadar.

'Oh La La La' performance

Bodies became the instruments when Baldwin Charm, the Virginia Women’s Institute for Leadership drum line, and select student dance groups performed as part of the ceremony. Students seem to swallow the rhythm, anxious to showcase their talents and speak out for women’s power, but not without a few mistakes on the way.

“It made it seem more real,” said Jasmine Rochelle ’11. “Nothing is perfect and the mistakes gave the element a more grounded feel.”

student dancers

Student involvement is particularly important to Krishnan and the college. On his next journey to Mary Baldwin, Krishnan hopes to work with Anointed Voices of Praise — Mary Baldwin’s student-directed, traveling, music ministry of traditional and contemporary gospel music — along with other student organizations.

“Mary Baldwin is hungry to build bridges with India,” Krishnan said.

The concert and Krishnan’s visit to the college this past week strengthened the bond between the college and India. This May Term, students will create even more ties when they visit the country to study the concept of women in business leadership roles.