Nuances of Carnatic music are discussed, fans immerse themselves in concerts by stalwarts, students are guided in an atmosphere of music for five days every year at Nidle, a quiet village near Dharmasthala in Dakshina Kannada district of Karnataka. This annual event has been a highlight of Nidle for two decades.
The music began reverberating in the house of the Karunbithil family, the host, for the 23rd consecutive year on May 24. Since its inception in 2000, the event — called Karunbithil Shibira (Karunbithil camp) — has played a pivotal role in nurturing and inspiring music students, instilling a deep passion for learning, and artistic growth. The shibira is an annual residential workshop-cum-concerts programme.
What started as a humble gathering of the Karunbithil family, led by the renowned violinist ‘Vidwan’ Vittal Ramamurthy from Chennai and his sisters who are settled in various parts of India, has evolved into a highly anticipated annual event. Initially, the gathering attracted small groups of students. But, over the year, the ‘Karunbithil Shibira’ has flourished into a significant gathering, attracting over 200 artists from far-off regions.
“Over time, the event has transformed from a family affair into an extended family affair, where participants and visiting star-artists seamlessly blend together, forming a close-knit community that collaboratively engages in all aspects of the shibira (camp),” said Mr. Ramamurthy.
Entry to the camp is completely free.
His disciple, violinist Vishwaskrishna, who is a regular participant, said that the camp enlightens the participants and artists in their music journey.
Some of the resource persons who have guided the students in the camp include Lalgudi G. Jayaraman, M. Balamuralikrishna, Umayalapuram K. Shivaraman, T. V. Gopalakrishnan, M. Chandrashekhar, V. V. Subramaniam, ‘Bombay’ Jayashree, T. M. Krishna, and Abhishek Raghuram.
Among the renowned musicians who will participate in the five-day camp this year are Rajkumar Bharathi, R. N. Srilatha, Subramaniam, P. Unnikrishnan, Radha Venkataraman, Mr. Raghuram, Tirumale Srinivas, Anoor Ananthakrishna Sharma and Veena Suresh.
Mr. Ramamurthy told The Hindu that the theme of the camp is learning and inspiring. “The camps have prompted about 40 students, who were earlier not familiar with Carnatic music, to learn the music. In addition, about 10 persons have pursued music as their career,” he said.
“About 5,000 students from children to adults attended the camps in 22 years,” the noted violinist said adding that about 250 students are attending the camp this year, including some from the United States.
The event also hosts a Yakshagana, talamaddale, magic shows and a quiz. “Participants get a unique chance to interact with renowned artists, gaining invaluable insights and inspiration,” he said.
The finale of this year’s camp, on May 28, will be marked by a violin duet by ‘Mysore Brothers’ — Mysore Nagaraj and Mysore Manjunath.