Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

Arts/Entertainment

July 5, 2012

Veena plucks teen's ties to her heritage

Sarita Ballakur plays ancient Indian instrument

(Continued)

"At first it was so straining. Now. it relaxes me when I play," she said.

Playing the veena keeps her connected to her Indian roots and she likes that, too, she said.

"Indian culture is important to me. That's how my parents (Arvind and Anita Ballakur) raised me," said Sarita. "Playing the veena is just a lot of fun and it's so popular in Indian culture."

Her family will travel to India for its summer vacation as her parents both grew up there and her grandparents still live in South India. She's sure to hear veena music somewhere.

VEENA FACTS

One of the most ancient string instruments of India.

1.5 meters long and is made from jackwood, which is abundant in South India and termite resistant.

Has a large, round body with a thick, wide neck, the end of which is carved into the head of a dragon.

A small resonator is attached to the underside of the neck.

24 metal frets (the raised portion on the neck of a stringed instrument) are embedded in hardened bees-wax, mixed with charcoal powder.

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