In what has been otherwise been a worst year when some of the things which I wished had never happened, happened, the one good thing about 2007 is that it has been a musically very satisfying year for me. In the beginning of 2007, I never thought that I would go for so many concerts or I will become even more passionate about Rahman’s and Carnatic music or I would write so much about music! Is there any better way than ending that year and welcoming the new one on a musical note?
For the past few years, there is a special program held at Music Academy on the New Year’s Eve where many Carnatic musicians, old and young, give solo as well as group performances. This is the first time I am going for that. It was organized by Carnatica.
Eastern ethnic New Year’s eve – A Carnatic music programme by Carnatica and Music Academy
The programme that was to start at 10 pm, started 10 minutes late with a performance by Sustaining Sampradaya, a group of young students comprising of singers, violinists, a flautist and a mridangam player from USA in the age group of 6 to 19. The group performed Tanayuni brova in Bhairavi and Vaari meede (Tiruppugazh) in Kuntalavarali very well. Since the mike arrangement wasn’t proper, some of the singers’ voices were not heard and even the sound of the violin was not audible.
The veteran flautist N Ramani, accompanied by Karaikal Venkat on the violin and Srimushnam Raja Rao on the mridangam next played the Kambhoji kriti, O Rangasayee.
A couple of surprise performances followed next. While mridangam player, Guruvayur Dorai, sang, singer Ashok Ramani played the mridangam accompanied by R.K.Shriramkumar on the violin, B.S.Purushottaman on the Khanjira. He sang a Purvi Kalyani alapana followed by the song Appa thappedhu and the viruttam, orumaiyudan as a raagamalika (Ananda Bhairavi, Bhageshri, Hamsanandi and Kapi). Though his voice showed the strains of aging, he did sing quite well. Another mridangam player too chose to display his singing skills on that day. With Guruvayur Dorai now on the mridangam, Srimushnam Raja Rao sang Rama nannu bhrovara (Harikambhoji) and irakkam varamal (a short alapana of Behag was there too) accompanied again by R.K.Shriramkumar on the violin and Purushottaman on the Khanjira. He sang even better than Dorai.
After the vocal performance by the veteran percussionists, the Parur Quartet (Parur Sri M.S.Anantharaman, M.A.Sundareswaran, M.A.Krishnasamy and M.S.Ananthakrishnan) played a beautiful Bhajan in Desh and anbirundhaal adhuve podhume in Sindhu Bhairavi (written by Chidambaram Swarna Venkatesha Dikshitar and music composed by M.S.Anantharaman himself). The Sindhu Bhairavi alapana by Sri M.S.Anantharaman was the best Sindhu Bhairavi that I have heard in the recent times! Though they played just for 15 minutes or so only, those few minutes were absolute bliss! 🙂 M.S.Anantharaman sang the song anbirundhaal adhuve podhume too while playing it.
Since it was almost 12 o clock by that time, all the musicians who had come that day, came together on the stage and sang Sri Maha Ganapati in Sowrashtram. While they were singing it, the new year dawned. 🙂 What better way to start the new year than listen to Tyagaraja’s kriti on Lord Vinayaka! The soulful rendition of Maitreem Bhajata that followed next from the group of musicians made it all the more a great beginning.
V.V.Subrahmanyam, presented a composition of his in raaga Behag that he had composed for reducing Global warming! He said it is believed that Global warming will reduce if Lord Vishnu’s naama is recited. While his son V.V.S.Murari accompanied him on the violin, V.V.Ravi’s son, Raghavakrishna sang the composition that just had the different naamas of Lord Vishnu. The composition was excellent and it made the already beautiful raaga Behag, sound even more beautiful. 🙂
Following the Behag was a Hindustani song by Malladi Brothers. I didn’t find it that great. Embar Kannan accompanied them on the violin. I don’t remember the name of the person who played Table.
Gayathri Girish was the next to sing. She sang Neerajakshi in Hindolam. What followed next was a moving rendition of Dikshitar’s Jambupate in Yamun Kalyani by Gayathri Venkataraghavan. I just loved it. She sang it with so much bhava. I think both the Gayathris were accompanied by Sanjeev on the violin and Rajna Swaminathan on the mridangam. Rajna played really well and she played for many more singers too on that day.
Singer Neyveli Santhanagopalan then played the veena along with a disciple of his! A nice Reetigowlai (kriti – Janani) was played. Seems this was the first time he was playing the veena in a concert.
After this, many young singers gave solo performances. Almost all of them sang really well. Shanti Nilava vaendum in raaga Tilang was sung by Dharini, Kaa Vaa Vaa in Varali by Bharat Sundar, Maa madurapuri vaazh in Bhageshri by Trichy Pradeep Kumar, Yadavraaya as a ragamalika (As per this page, I think the raagas were Basant, Sindhu Bhairavi and Durga) by Haricharan. Amritha Venkatesh also sang some song. I don’t remember what it was.
Till now what was a very nice programme took a complete turn when Saindhavi sang the song, Kaatrin Mozhi from Mozhi to a background music from the audio track itself. Though she sang quite well and despite the fact that Igenerally don’t mind listening to film songs and Carnatic songs back to back, listening to a film song in the midst of a Carnatic music concert at 2 am in the night didn’t appeal to me at all. After Saindhavi’s performance, Sashikiran (one of the Carnatica Brothers) said they wanted to give variety to the audience and so decided to make Saindhavi who is well-versed in Carnatic music as well, sing a film song. He also announced that the next will be performance by one more young upcoming singer and the programme will come to an end with a performance by singer Suryaprakash. I didn’t stay back for those.
It was announced during the course of the programme that paanagam and pongal would be given by Sri Krishna Sweets to everyone when they leave. But since we were one of the last ones to leave (many had started leaving by 12:30 itself and only few people were there when I left), there were no signs of pongal or paanagam anywhere. Does that mean that all these will be given only if we leave midway? 😉
At the end of the day or rather, at the beginning of the day, it was nice welcoming the New Year the musical way! 🙂