Chitra Venu sound lends magic to ‘Marghazhi’ musical season

Chennai: This 'Marghazhi' musical season thrilled to the sound of a new instrument – Chitra Venu. The innovative hybrid consists of a flute-like instrument mounted on a custom designed 34-string plucked and/or strummed zither. Its versatility enables it to accommodate both classical Indian ragas and western music.
It was performed by inventor-musician Uday Shankar in SPACES arts foundation, Elliots Beach, Besant Nagar, as part of the commeration day of the foundation founder-trustee and contemporary dancer Chandralekha. He was accompanied on the tabla by N Sundar a well-known multi-genre rhythm artist who has collaborated with several legendary musicians.
Uday Shankar, who was born in 1962, was introduced to the Carnatic music world in Chennai by his father, who taught him a few ragas. He also encouraged the son to try these out on a flute. Thus began a musical odyssey, which culminated in this invention. A patent has been registered in the US.
The US-based biomedical design engineer started working on Chitra-Venu in 2009. It was first performed on stage in Cleveland in 2013. Without strings in its then early avatar, they were added later. He drew inspiration from maestros Chitravina N Ravikiran and the late flute vidwan T S Sankaran.
Chitra-Venu was played in a special music festival hosted by M G University, Kottyam in 2015.

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