A Concert by Take Four – Sri Vikku Vinayakram (Ghatam), Trilok Gurtu (Percussion), V Selvaganesh (Khanjira), R Prasanna (Guitar)
I reached Music Academy at around 6:50 pm for the concert that was to start at 7:15 pm and found almost all the seats in the two centre bays of the balcony, occupied. The first thing that struck me on entering the auditorium was the crowd. Having been to the Academy only for Carnatic music concerts, I have seen only the usual kutcheri crowds there. But on that day, everyone from a paatti in a 9 yard saree to a kid was there – crowd was something like the one at Saarang. As the concert proceeded, I wondered how the paatti would have liked it. 😉
At 7:15 pm, after the usual 2-3 bells that ring at the Academy, the show started with a screen kept on the stage screening ads and for the first time, I saw the ad for Bose Speakers (No idea whether it is shown on TV since I rarely watch TV these days) and I liked it. After a few more ads and the customary introduction speech by the host, the concert started.
• Trilok Gurtu & Selvaganesh were on the stage and the concert started with Trilok Gurtu performing on all sorts of percussion instruments whose names I have no clue about and producing sounds including chirping of birds, blowing winds, flowing water, etc. Selvaganesh soon joined him and thus started the journey of rhythms that the audience was treated to, as the evening progressed. Just when Trilok Gurtu started performing, there was a distortion/ screeching sound produced that is so typical of our sound systems and Trilok promptly said, ’It’s not me!’ evoking laughter from the audience 🙂
• Trilok and Selvaganesh were later joined by Prasanna and he played some jazz (?) kind of music in his guitar accompanied by the two of them. Prasanna complained that in Chennai, they never knew the kind of sound system to be used for a guitar and had to spend a quite a few minutes trying to get the person to adjust the monitor etc.
• Trilok Gurtu announced that the next one will be raaga kalAvati and after Prasanna played a short ‘alapana’ of kalAvati, Selvaganesh’s khanjira and Trilok Gurtu’s drums joined his guitar soon. By then Sri Vinayakram had entered the stage to applause by the audience and a jazzy KalAvati from Prasanna’s guitar was made all the more classy with the mesmerizing rhythms produced by the three percussion wizards. 😉
• The next one was Vikku Vinayakram’s composition, ‘SivatAnDavam’ that the father-son duo performed it together. Vinayakram played the Ghatam with Selvaganesh alternating between reciting the prayer that was in the form of konakkol and playing the Khanjira and sometimes doing both.
• SivatAnDavam was followed by a solo performance by Trilok Gurtu.
• A solo performance by Prasanna who played jazzy classical raagams including SankarAbharanam
• All the four were on stage once again and Prasanna’s composition, ‘31’ (? – not sure!), was performed followed by ‘Tani Avartanam’.
• As Vinayakaram and Prasanna were leaving the stage, Trilok started off konakkol and ended it with a ‘Sit down’ directed at Prasanna who was leaving the stage. 🙂 Then followed a konakkol duet between Trilok and Selvaganesh with both of them throwing in all sorts of words and phrases like ‘Idli’, ‘Appalam’, ‘You watch it in Youtube tomorrow’ in their sollu kattu/konakkol/tala talk! It was then that the audience started clapping rhythmically in sync with their konakkol and the whole atmosphere in the auditorium got energized. 🙂
• In the midst of their konakkol duet, Trilok played foot tapping recorded beats, also playing along. Then started an interactive session between Selvaganesh, Trilok and the audience. As they continued their konnakol, they both let the audience finish off each line of their konakkol by making them recite words like toam, taam and nam. There wouldn’t have been a single person who wouldn’t have enjoyed it!
• The final piece of the concert saw the four of them on stage once again and the one they performed was a favourite of mine, Prasanna’s composition, ‘Peaceful’. After a brief ‘alapana’ of Mohanam by Prasanna, the four of them bowled over the audience once again with their amazing music produced by their instruments. This one had the audience clapping rhythmically for Vinayakram’s Ghatam. He made the audience repeat with their rhythmic claps, what he played on the Ghatam. It was enjoyment unlimited for the audience. 🙂
• After this, Sivamani came onto the stage and garlanded all the artists and just as they all were leaving the stage, the audience started shouting, ‘We want Siva’, ‘We want Sivamani’! When the Take Four decided to play one last piece for the audience, the ‘We want Sivamani!’ shouts started growing louder and we, the lucky audience, got to watch Sivamani perform along with the four of them. Trilok made the audience repeat an African phrase (?) and the group on stage played for the audience’s rhythmic singing and clapping. 🙂 Sivamani played Trilok’s drums and Trilok for most part was singing konakkol and also playing some other percussion instruments.
I absolutely enjoyed the concert and wished that the little more than 2 hour concert had lasted for some more time!