The Creative Team: Music

Odissi and Bharatanatyam compositions and recording by traditional, classical ensembles from Bhubaneshwar and Bangalore.

Rajna Swaminathan, piano

Rajna Swaminathan, disciple of mrudangam maestro Umayalpuram K. Sivaraman, is one of only a handful of female mrudangam artists in the world. She performs and facilitates workshops/clinics at major percussion conferences and camps such as PASIC (Percussive Arts Society International Conference), and KOSA International Percussion Camp. Rajna has also been involved in several dance productions, regularly working with Ragamala Dance (Minneapolis) in their projects over the past four years. Recently, she has been collaborating intensively with musicians in New York’s creative jazz scene to expand the rhythmic horizons of the mrudangam. In addition to mrudangam, Rajna has studied piano for several years. Using her hybrid musical foundation, she has been composing and creating crossover works. In December 2012, Rajna graduated with a degree in Cultural Anthropology from University of Maryland (College Park), and is currently completing a second degree in French.

Anjna Swaminathan, violin

Anjna Swaminathan is an emerging artist in the field of South Indian Carnatic Violin. A disciple of the late violin maestro Parur Sri M.S. Gopalakrishnan and Mysore Sri H.K. Narasimhamurthy, Anjna has been trained in both Carnatic classical and Western classical styles of violin. In Summer 2010, she had her solo concert debut in India. Along with solo performances, Anjna collaborates with several musicians and dancers, providing accompaniment for Carnatic concerts and dance productions. She has worked with many dance companies, as a musician and composer, most notably, Ragamala Dance (Minneapolis), The Spilling Ink Project (Washington, DC), and Dakshina/Daniel Phoenix Singh Dance Company (Washington, DC). She is currently an undergraduate student of Performance Studies at the University of Maryland (College Park).

In recent collaborations, Rajna and Anjna have delved into the realm of composing, helping to develop the score for Ragamala Dance’s Sacred Earth (September, 2011), and creating an original composition, which was commissioned and premiered by Dakshina/Daniel Phoenix Singh Dance Company at the Kennedy Center’s maximum INDIA festival in March 2011. Rajna and Anjna’s most recent crossover compositions include the music for Srishti Dances of India and The Spilling Ink Project’s Samudra: Churning Oceans (February, 2012) and writer/performer Anu Yadav’s Meena’s Dream. The composing and performing duo hopes to transcend boundaries and broaden musical possibilities by taking inspiration from multiple musical and artistic traditions.