12:30 p.m., free
Downtown office drones know that one of the best pick-me-ups during the workday is some free outdoor music. This year's Yerba Buena Gardens Festival in SOMA
has been presenting its Thursday Lunchtime Concert series since early June, which continues today with VidyA
Formed in fall 2005, the local trio ― saxophonist Prasant Radhakrishnan, bassist David Ewell, and drummer Sameer Gupta ― plays a forward-thinking blend of jazz and Carnatic sounds. "Carnatic music is the traditional music of South India, and it is still vibrant today," Radhakrishnan says. "I became interested in it through meeting my guru, Kadri Gopalnath, the pioneer of saxophone in Carnatic music. I had intense training under him in India during summer vacations and it became my main interest musically, in addition to jazz."
All three members of VidyA keep themselves busy with other projects, including the Supplicants, Kosmic Renaissance, and multiculti project Nefasha Ayer, which Radhakrishnan played with during last year's lunchtime series.
Today's free hour-long show starts at 12:30 p.m. in the Gardens' esplanade. "We enjoy performing when there is a good listening audience, regardless of whether they have paid or not," Radhakrishnan says. "Good music can happen with the attention of both the artists and the listeners."