Harikatha Style

Jayashree's most recent exploration in Carnatic music has been the Harikatha and discourse, where she blends anecdotal story telling with traditional Carnatic compositions.
Drawing on a rich and varied knowledge base of Carnatic music and Sanskrit scriptures and the philosophies of Vedantha, Jayashree presents her religious discourses with interpretations that are at once scholarly, yet informatively simple. Engaging the listeners of the Western world, Jayashree chooses to narrate her stories in English, while keeping the integrity of original Carnatic compositions intact with her sensiitive rendition. A true gaurdian of Carnatic music and its many facets, Jayashree continues to nurture this old world art form called Harikatha, by preserving its long tradition and culture and gently exposing it to the modern world where it continues to thrive and flourish in the minds of young and old.

The Mission – From Music to Caring Citizens

Musically, the school’s curriculum and instruction is unparalleled, focusing on uncompromising quality and accuracy of musical delivery. Emphasis is placed on the purity of voice, diction, and fine quality of renditions. Annual music examinations are conducted over a two week period with comprehensive tests for junior and senior level students. Self research and study is directed for a selected group of advanced senior level students. Sri Rama Lalitha Kala Mandir imparts Carnatic music in its purest form and strives to instill core values in its students. The school provides a rich fertile ground for raising future generations with the highest moral caliber through teaching and training students with a holistic approach combining music, culture and values.

The Students – Unity in Diversity

Based in Sunnyvale, California, USA, the school has an extremely diverse student population. Students include Americans of Indian origin, Caucasians, and Indians from different parts of India and around the world. Students have ranged in age from four to fifty-five years old. There is typically a 100- person wait-list of eager to be students. In addition, alumni students who move away seek lessons from telephone or virtual lessons even from afar including from Malaysia, India, and Australia. Over the last quarter century, students of the school have regularly performed at major international events, festivals, fund raising events and community outreach programs. Each student, parent, and volunteer of Sri Rama Lalitha Kala Mandir School of Fine Arts student is encouraged to inspire themselves and their community through the school’s mission of service and self- development.

Students of Sri Rama Lalitha Kala Mandir receive more than just music lessons. Through every class and lesson, they develop discipline, the value of consistent dedication and
hard work, moral and ethical values. Most musical performances are geared toward community service –anywhere from fundraising for a personal belief and cause, a religious celebration, cultural events, or a festival. Sri Rama Lalitha Kala Mandir as an institution has always believed in giving back to the community. The Founder’s philosophy of selfless giving has led to the school and its participants actively contributing to the fundraising efforts of several community organizations including missions and temples.

Tradition - Woven with Innovation

Varadarajan's daughter Rangashree Varadarajan, a musician in her own right, continues this tradition in both vocal (Smt. Jayashree Varadarajan, Sri Rama Lalitha Kala Mandir) and violin (Lalgudi Smt. Brahmanandam and Smt. Anuradha Sridhar) music. Rangashree carries on this invaluable tradition with her ceaseless passion, love and participation in every aspect of the school's operations from concerts to workshops. In addition, Rangashree has taken her knowledge of music into her community. In 2006, Rangashree spearheaded a team project through the Davis Honors Challenge,UC Davis, to develop an after school music program for third grade students in and around the Sacramento, CA region. The program aimed to help develop a love and appreciation for music amongst this community. In addition, Rangashree has been actively involved in organizations such as Society for Promotion of Indian Classical Music and Culture Amongst Youth (SPICMACAY). Most interestingly, Rangashree has incorporated her passion for music and science at Georgetown University, Lombardi Cancer Center where she prepared and executed a research study in music and chemotherapy as its Principal Investigator. Rangashree continues to educate her community about Carnatic music via fusion music through active involvement in organizations like SAPAN, The Fourth Stream Band, SolSource LLC, Tranquil Space Yoga Studio, the SubContinental Drift, all based in the Washington DC area.