Melbourne Veena Festival: Our Journey – Iyer Brothers

Iyer Brothers

Presented by Melbourne Recital Centre & Melbourne Veena Festival


Celebrating 50 years of playing the veena together.

The veena is one of the most ancient string instruments of India and plays an important role in Hindustani classical music and Carnatic classical music.

In 2023, the Iyer Brothers celebrate 50 years of playing the veena and have assembled an impressive instrumental ensemble of veena players to share personal musical stories of their journey – from their formative learning years in India to establish their teaching and musical careers in Melbourne.

About the concert

The music for veena will be played in the traditional South Indian Carnatic style, accompanied by the mridangam, a South Indian two-headed drum, and chosen especially from the Iyer Brothers’ own repertoire that has been refined across their 50-year career.

The concert will also feature voices of the brothers’ young Australian students who have taken on the challenge of learning the veena as part of their musical studies and discoveries.

Praise for the Iyer Brothers

‘What is so interesting about the music is the communication between the brothers, something that seems only possible between twins. They seem to follow each other’s thoughts in a way only dreamed of in other collaborations.’ – Australian Institute of Eastern Music

This special performance is part of the annual Melbourne Veena Festival.

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Ramnath Iyer veena
Gopinath Iyer veena
Nisha Iyer veena
Mahita Iyer veena
Priyadharshini Raveendran veena
Pramodh Sri veena
Tharyny Sri veena
Melakaveri Balaji mridangam


Muthuswamy Dikshitar
Vatapi Ganapathim
Raga: Hamsadhwani Tala: Adi Composer:
Turning the clock back to the early seventies, this popular song was one of the earliest compositions we learned. This very popular and complex piece of music that we had heard many times on the radio was finally sung out from our Veenas!

Patnam Subramania Iyer
Raga: Kadanakuduhalam Tala: Adi
We would often listen to this evergreen melody played by one of the legendary veena players of India, the late Dr. Chitti Babu. Once mastered, this composition became our eternal source of inspiration.

Subbaraya Sastry
Sankari Neeve
Raga: Begada Tala: Rupakam This beautiful composition was taught to us by our guru Trivandrum R Vemkataranan during his visit to Melbourne in early 2000.

Banturiti Kolu
Raga: Hamsanandam Tala: Adi
We learnt this popular composition by listening to the playing by our Guru’s Guru K S
Narayanaswamy, where he employed the split-fingering playing technique on the Veena giving a beautiful effect to the composition.

Rama Nee Samanamevaru
Raga: Karaharapriya Tala: Rupakam
We will be recreating this song we learnt from our Guru Trivandrum Venkataraman along with the rhythmic pattern at the end played by the famous Veena-Venu-Violin trio he was part of.

Muthuswamy Dikshitar
Ehi Annapoorne
Raga: Punnagavarali Tala: Adi
In the early 2000s, after our performance at the WOMAD festival in Adelaide, an elderly Australian gentleman asked us why we didn’t perform this song. His genuine interest touched us, and now that song and raga are a significant part of our repertoire.

R Pichumani Iyer
Raga: Vasantha kaiseki Tala: Adi
Tonight’s final song holds a special place in our hearts, composed by our Guru Pichumani Iyer nearly 50 years ago. It remains a staple in our repertoire, performed countless times in concerts.