Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Music is in the air!!

When it dawned upon me that I would have to move out of Chennai after my marriage, one of the things which I was sure I would sorely miss was the December music festival and the carnatic music concerts that my hometown is never short of.
But was I mistaken! Bangalore does have its dose of this wonderful art too. The husband and I have almost been on a concert marathon for the past few weeks. Here is a brief review on the best amongst them :

Vishaka Hari’s upanyasam(a style of story telling) on ‘Sriranga Vaibhavam’

This lady is nothing short of a genius. A qualified Chartered Accountant and an accomplished carnatic music vocalist, she later on took to Harikatha. Her inimitable style of narration, liberal peppering of the story with apt musical compositions and food for thought that she draws out of the simplest of instances is simply outstanding. The greatness of our country and the saints who graced it , the gazillion stories from our puranas and scriptures, insightful interpretations, elevating thoughts - I could just go on and on if I were to write about what makes her concerts so special. Every single recital of hers elevates you to a different plane and is so fulfilling to listen to. Her upanyasam certainly has the ability to inspire a common man towards life with more of spiritual awareness.

Under the theme ‘Sriranga Vaibhavam’, she narrated the story of how the Srirangam temple came into existence. The presiding deity( Ranganatha Swamy) is apparently the first idol that was created by Lord Vishnu himself for worship by humans. The creation of this idol marks the beginning of idol worship. She also went on to narrate how the deity became the kula dhana (Family fortune) of the Ikshvaku dynasty(Lord Rama’s lineage)and then later on  took residence at Srirangam.
It was a new experience to listen to Hari Katha in English which she did for the sake of the Bangalore audience. Her English was impeccable and she managed to do the same extempore poetic exclamations that she usually does in Tamil. Though she had mastery over the English language too, I felt a lot was lost in translation. The power of expression and the beauty of the native language could just not be completely brought out in English.
But over all, it was a very elevating experience and each member of the audience who packed the auditorium well beyond its capacity, went back feeling satisfied and spiritually uplifted.

Sri TV Shankarnarayanan – Carnatic vocal music recital

TVS as he is popularly called is one of the stalwarts of the yesteryears. What never fails to amaze me is that he continues to give outstanding performances. His 67 years of age shows no effect whatsoever on his voice. He still enthrals the audience with a melodious voice and demonstrates complete mastery over it. The perfect breath control, sound quality and clear pronunciation that totally support the showcasing of his expertise and creativity is so awe inspiring. His concert was three hours of immersion in the best of what carnatic music has to offer to a rasika. I felt so grateful for getting such a wonderful treat of divine music.

Malladi brothers and Gundecha brothers – Jugalbandhi of the Carnatic and Drupad style of singing

I had my reservations about attending this concert. Insufferable purist that I am, I have always believed that I would never enjoy any other form of music other than the one that I know :)
We landed up in the concert hall one whole hour after it began(thanks to my misgivings) but were almost instantly impressed with what reached our ears as we entered.

I simultaneously had two first time experiences at this concert. I am hearing Malladi brothers for the first time and I felt I had missed something truly great for such a long time. Powerful  voices with an easy reach that filled the air around you, an admirable mastery over the art, good selection of ragas and compositions – what more do you need for enthralling the audience! The other first time experience was the exposure to the Drupad style of singing. The Gundecha brothers again had very good and well trained voices.  They are leading Drupad singers and are recipients of the prestigious Padmashree award.
The juxtaposition of the two styles was a real treat to listen to and was an eye opening experience. The artists took up ragas that exist in both genres and beautifully improvised it for the audience in the form of an alaap, followed by a composition and then swaram singing. The accompanists were equally brilliant. I found the Drupad style to be a very meditative form of music and have really started liking it. This concert expanded my limited vision of music and am so thankful for that!

And the musical journey continues. There are quite a few concerts scheduled for the weeks to come and we all are geared up to attend them and immerse ourselves in the ocean of bliss that music is. Bangalore has sure scored some brownie points in this arena! 


  1. hi aarthy
    Above all this i love the way you write .Great writing .God bless you both .

  2. yeah, Aarthy..Bangalore has its share of good old kutcheris and other lovely cultural programmes. Also, am glad to see concerts coming up near the area I live and not just in the other part of the city. For now, I'm waiting for R to grow up a bit so that he can sit through at least half the programme and not make a nuisance out of the entire family! :-)

    1. Oh yes that's an important consideration too .. I see quite a few people come in with kids .. And by the end when everyone begins to leave, the kids are finally asleep :)
      We actually drive quite a bit to reach these concert halls but its totally worth the travel!

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  6. I'm completely tone deaf but my friends who love music never miss a day of the December season :-) Hope u enjoyed the special performance.

    1. Oh yes I sure did! Welcome to this space :)

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