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Sep 14, 2012 at 09:23am IST

Art bonds India, Sri Lanka at music festival in war-torn Jaffna

Chennai: War-torn Jaffna in Sri Lanka had a musical symphony earlier this month. Carnatic vocalists TM Krishna and P Unnikrishnan, along with Bharatnatyam dancer Alarmel Valli enthralled Jaffna with their performances and workshops for three days. These artistes from Chennai participated in the three-day event called 'Divine Ecstasy', set up by TM Krishna.

"In a way it is re-inforcing a cultural depth they already had. You are not introducing anything new. I think culture is a lovely way of having a conversation with people. And it also reinforces their own strengths and history," Krishna said.

Carnatic Musician P Unnikrishnan said, "For many years they have also been deprived of cultural activities, so I think Svanubhava is doing a fantastic job in reviving those moments, which used to be there."

The festival had the support of the Indian High commission in Colombo and Jaffna and the Indo-SriLanka Foundation. A team from Chennai visited Jaffna over the last two months to co-ordinate the event. With more than 2,000 people attending the dance performance of Alarmel Valli and another 5,000 strong crowd for Unnikrishnan's concert, the festival was a success.

Dancer Alarmel Valli said, "It is so important for the younger generation to have access to the arts. To a means of communication that is not aggressive, violent, negative but something that can make them whole again and heal and harmonise."

Music is known to act as a balm. This 3-day festival, too, managed to provide some solace to the war-ravaged people of Jaffna, giving them a chance to interact and learn from the Indian artistes.

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