CAMAGA hosts Carnatic Samraat
Music Competition in Atlanta
Text and Pics. : Mahadev
On the fine sunny morning of Saturday September 19, 2015. The
Hindu Temple of Atlanta’s auditorium was already full with young
participants, their parents and teachers anxiously waiting for
‘Carnatic Samraat Music Competition’ to begin.
The competition was hosted by Atlanta’s premier Classical music
organization, CAMAGA, in collaboration with Sri Shankara TV and
Abhayam Creations of Chennai. The competition is intended to
select a topmost youngster proficient and talented in Carnatic
music from across the globe. In addition to Atlanta, the
competition will be held in other U.S. cities such as Chicago,
Detroit, New York, Seattle, San Diego, and San Jose and in
countries such as Singapore, Dubai, and Sydney, Australia. The
winners from each of the U.S. regional cities will compete on
October 10th in Delaware to select the U.S. Winner. Eventually,
the global final will be held in India to award the title of
Yuva Samraat Jnr.Winner: Shashank
Yuva Samraat Jnr. Winner : Second
Prize Shruthi Santhanam
Yuva Samraat Jnr.Winner: Third Prize
The competition was judged by leading professional musicians-
Chitraveena Ravikiran, Violinist Sri Nagai N. Murali,
Chitraveena Ganesh, and Mridangist Sri Thiruvarur Vaidyanathan.
Sri Ravikiran is a child prodigy who began performing since the
age of 12. He is one of the eminent instrumentalists in the
world known for his contribution to both Indian music and other
world music systems.
Sri Nagai Murali, violinist, is one of the top ranked violinists
in the Carnatic music field today.
Sri Ganesh is both a well-known vocalist and a Chitraveena
Sri Thiruvarur Vaidyanathan is a most sought-after percussionist
who accompanies all the high profile artists in the Carnatic
The participants from Atlanta, about one hundred fifty of them,
varied in their ages from five to thirty years. Their musical
training and experience also varied from two years to several
years. Consequently, the participants were grouped into
categories – Bala Samraat and Yuva Samraat – juniors and
seniors. Each participant competed within his/her peer group.
The event also included participants who performed as a group.
The groups, consisting of between eight and ten vocalists and
instrumentalists, performed a choir or a symphony. The choir and
symphony were innovative creations from out of a traditional
Carnatic composition that was put together by the talented
Atlanta area music teachers. After each group’s presentation the
rapt audience showed it’s appreciation with standing ovations.
Dr.Ram SriRam being felicitated by the
From left: Sri Shashikiran;Dr.Ram Sriram;Sri Nagai
Murali;Sri Thiruvarur Vaidyanathan.
The master of ceremonies for the event, Sri K. N. Shashikiran,
is a very illustrious vocalist. He conducted the entire
competition flawlessly and with patience. He encouraged the
young performers to do their best and gave excellent feedback to
each participant on what they did best and what they must focus
on more to grow into talented performers. Parents and teachers
appreciated the guidance and mentoring provided by Sri
Shashikiran and his eminent group of judges.
A special mention should be made of CAMAGA, The Carnatic Music
Association of Georgia, who had sponsored the event. Dr. Ram
Sriram, President of the organization, commented that the event
was successful only because of the dedicated work of CAMAGA’s
volunteers who had worked tirelessly for the past three months.
He stressed that such competitions are essential, not only to
give the youngsters growing up in a foreign land a stage to
perform but also to get them interested in our culture and
heritage. He noted that CAMAGA every year organizes at least one
or more events primarily to ensure participation by the
youngsters. Dr. Sriram exhorted parents and teachers to
encourage their children to also attend concerts by leading
professional musicians organized by CAMAGA several times during
a year, as listening to live concerts by professional musicians
is a great way to understand improvisational techniques and to
learn the subtle nuances of performing.
Please note that the List of Winners is available at
www.camaga.org. Those interested are requested to visit the