sapna-veenaCHICAGO: This year the Veena Festival of North America themed “Ekaaham: Sounds of Infinity” has taken on the onerous task of raining the sounds of Veena in the Chicagoland area for 24 hours.
The recital is the outcome of huge planning by Shriram Sonty and Saradapurna Sonty of Sri Annamacharya Project of North America (SAPNA) – their tireless service of 25 years and counting, in the promotion of Veena and Indian classical music in USA.

The Veena festival will be held at The Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago in Lemont, IL on May 10 and May 11. This is the first time North America will witness the incessant outpouring of Veena strains without a break for all of 24 hours!
Conducted for the sixth year in a row by Shri Annamacharya Project of North America (SAPNA), a variety of thematic presentations have been planned by artists from India and USA. Some of the highlights include “Vallaki Vilaasam”, a unique menagerie of Veenas i.e., Saptatantri Veenas (Sitar, Surbahar), Saraswathi Veena, Chaturtantri Veena (Guitar), Shatatantri Veena (Santoor) and Rudra Veena, conceived and directed by Chicago Veena artiste Saraswathi Ranganathan.

Among the artistes invited from India will be Dr Emani Kalyani, daughter of the celebrated Veena artiste Emani Shankara Shastry. Other highly accomplished artistes from Chicagoland – Rajeswari Pariti, Jaishree Prasad and Rama Gurupalli – will be presenting ‘Raaga Darshanam’. Student showcases and professional performances are expected to bring in over 80 Veenas from all over USA.

Veena is an ancient timeless stringed instrument from Southern India akin to the lute known for its bass mellow meditative tone. In the recent past, there has been a concerted effort from SAPNA, Chicago, to preserve this pristine art form in all its glory.

Surendra Ullal