Entertainment

Sammamish teen is accomplished sitar player

The 14-year-old wins first place in the international competition. #k5evening

BELLEVUE, Wash. — The mesmerizing sound of this Indian instrument captivated Kaira Soin the moment she heard its hum.

“Hearing the sitar and the way it sounded and the way it resonated around the room was very intriguing, it struck me,” said 14-year-old Sammamish.

It started in third grade when her science teacher, Randy Hollinger, used his sitar to demonstrate sound waves at the Open Window School in Bellevue.

“Kaira, she just sort of saw it and she was just interested in it and I said, ‘Well, you can try,'” Hollinger explained.

“And I thought, ‘Yes!’ I was so excited,” Kaira said.

At school she began taking lessons from Mr. Hollinger. Her parents Ravi and Anu Soin remember when she got her first sitar. It was when she was eight and it was taller than her. Kaira might be small, but her desire and discipline were powerful.

“Sitar is so formal that you really have to play it a certain way,” Hollinger said. “It must be learned properly, with a teacher. So Kaira showed up, she kept showing up, and she was really consistent.”

“You feel the music, you play with your hands and you feel everything through your hands and your whole body,” Kaira said. “This music just resonates and lights up the whole room and illuminates your personality.”

Kaira recently won first place in the Grand Prize Virtuoso, an international music competition for gifted students. She was the only sitar player to compete.

But this instrument has given Kaira much more than just success in competitions.

“I think music is a great way to show your feelings — I was born with a lot of health issues, so I’ve been in and out of the hospital and it’s always been a way to heal and express myself,” she said.

“It was very fascinating to watch her grow and bloom and to defy all odds,” said Father Ravi. “That definitely makes us proud.”

“We are very happy for them, it has been a truly wonderful journey,” added Mother Anu.

This ancient instrument with a pumpkin body and up to 21 strings is designed to resonate.

And it clearly resonates with Kaira Soin.

“There is something special about being able to play the sitar and you can feel it in every inch of your body and it’s an incredible feeling.”

Kaira Soin will perform at the Grand Prize Virtuoso Winner’s Recital 2022 in Salzburg, Austria in July.

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https://www.king5.com/article/entertainment/television/programs/evening/sammamish-teen-accomplished-sitar-player-competition-first-grand-prize-virtuoso/281-140ff726-a927-4e1a-bc5b-6e607b0ad754 Sammamish teen is accomplished sitar player

Sarah Ridley

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