Hrdaya – Heartstrings is the upcoming feature production at the Shantanand Festival of Arts, which aims to emote through music, poetry, dance, shadow play and visual art mediums. The ensemble will be showcased on the 7th and 8th of December 2019 between 8.30 pm to 10.30 pm at the Temple of Fine Arts, Kuala Lumpur (TFA).

Each piece of the musical performance will convey an emotion. Remember the sweetness of a first romance? Or the thought of being all alone with untold secrets? How about the emotions of innocence, fear and excitement as a child, on path of discovery? Hrdaya will convey these emotions, not just through music, but also through the other unsuspecting mediums.


“We all go through the same emotions at different stages this of our lives. Hrdaya portrays these emotions through music,” says Kalpana Paranjothy, the composer of Hrdaya.

Comprised of an orchestra of 28 people, the performance will also include shadow puppeteers and poets. “Totally, there will be 50 people involved in Hrdaya.” shares Kalpana.

“The show will be held in parts, with each segment painting a different mood and thought. The musical experience is enhanced by by live poetry, taken from various poets like Khaliil Ghibran, William Blake, Langston Hughes and Rabindranath Tagore,” she tells us. The poems will be recited by eminent personalities, such as Geetha Shankaran-Lam, among many others.

Kalpana Paranjothy

The shadow play is an interesting aspect of this event, Kalpana reveals, “Shadow play will be used to depict the various emotions a child goes through. It is choreographed by the very talented dancer and artist, Deepa Rajendra,”

Hrdaya isn’t one of those run-of-the-mill classical music performances. Multiple musical genres are going to be interwoven in this one-of-a-kind show. “It will be a semi-classical performance, with both western and classical instruments. We have the veena, sitar, violin, tabla, ghatam, cello, saxophone and the piano.” Kalpana also reveals that a few of the pieces will involve vocals by adults and children.

The orchestra is comprised of senior musicians of the TFA as well as students. “We are also lucky to have a few external musicians joining us,” Kalpana gushes.

Tabla maestro Prakash Kandasamy

The star studded ensemble will feature eminent musicians of the TFA like Prakash Kandasamy, G.Sridhar, Jyotsna Prakash, Priyanka Raman, Karthik Raveendran, Swati Sivadas, Hariraam Tingyuan Lam, Abbirami Balachandan, Pangasaasani Gowrisan and Bhuma Paranjothy. There will also be a few invited musicians such as Eugene Chong on the cello, Eddie Kismilardy on the saxophone, Mohd Hisharudi on the side percussions and Swetha Baskaran on the sitar.

Kalpana herself grew up in the TFA, learning dance and music. “I learnt the sitar there, and after completing my Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM), I went to India to learn the sitar from Ustad Usman Khan, the International Dean of Music for the TFA International.” Kalpana tells us that she lived in Pune for four years, and went through the gurukulam style of learning music.

“Upon returning to Malaysia I had the opportunity to perform my arangetram. Ever since, I have been teaching at TFA. I began gravitating towards composing, since my first composition in 2012.” Kalpana has decided that music is her passion and composing music is how she can best showcase the musician in her. “I also paint and draw, so I connect that to music with ease. There is a strong connection between the arts and how we emote and express ourselves,” says Kalpana who completed her M.Phil in Music Composition from Trinity College of Dublin last year.

This is the third time Hrdaya will be presented, the first being in 2015, for which it won the BOH Cameronian Audience Choice Award. Earlier this year, Hrdaya was performed in Singapore. “This time around, the approach is slightly different. We have enhanced the shadow play, there will be a different set of poems and visuals.”

Kalpana is excited about her team’s upcoming performance, and has only one wish for all those attending, “I hope the audience leave with their hearts touched by one or all of the emotions.”

To get your tickets for Hrdaya and other festival events, please contact the Shantanand hotline at 03-2274 3709 or WhatsApp 016-895 2874.

Alternatively, please visit the Shantanand Festival of Arts official website here. Follow the Shantanand Festival of Arts on Facebook here or on Instagram here.