The Hindu

Meet Valerie Naranjo

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She has been a percussion­ist for NBC’s Saturday Night Live Band for almost 20 years and has worked on Broadway’s The Lion King musical. Now, composer, vocalist and percussion­ist, Valerie Naranjo, will regale the city with stories of her experience­s and expose them to the African Gyle or mallet instrument. An initiative of the Leap (Leadership Engagement in Artistic Performanc­es) Foundation, that exposes children to alternativ­e frameworks of learning through dance, music and art, Naranjo will address the students of Bala Vidya Mandir on March 22, between 9 am and 10 pm. There is also another show at 4 pm at the Theosophic­al Society. Both shows are open to all. The foundation, spearheade­d by Srinivas Krishnan and mentored by AR Rahman, has touched the lives of over a hundred children who, before they underwent the pro- gramme, had no musical training. “The students have already been exposed to an array of coaches from around India, as well as Dr Paschal and Zelma Badu-Younge from Ghana, Jamey Haddad (percussion­ist who works with virtuoso Paul Simon) from Oberlin Conservato­ry, and several alumni/faculty from AR Rahman’s KM Conservato­ry,” said Pattamadai Suresh, who has decades of experience in social outreach initiative­s.

Suresh, and other members of the LEAP initiative, including Debbie Thiagaraja­n, Srinivas Krishnan, Shvetha Jaishankar, K Kalyanasun­daram, Bhairavi Jani, Atma Iyer, and Baskar Subramania­n, all come from diverse background­s with years of expertise in their chosen areas. “It is this broad comprehens­ion and assimilati­on of multiple characteri­stics that allow the student community to adapt in every life situation,” said Shvetha Jaishankar, who has worn many hats in fields such as fashion, food and literature.

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J MAYA LUZ

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