During the December Season 2005, we again got Music Academy tickets, thanks to our neighbour. By then, Carnatic music had become a passion to me and my sister and we wanted to attend as many concerts as possible. My sister had her semester holidays and I had my semester exams at that time! But that didn’t stop me from going for concerts! I took my book along if I had to study something.
Mandolin Srinivas & Rajesh; Ranjani-Gayatri – Found their Begada RTP so boring that we went to the canteen in between 😛 ; E.Gayathri – I was studying ‘Microwave Engineering’ even while listening to her play!; K.J.Yesudass – What a bore that concert was! He was talking instead of singing for a lot of time! I decided right away that I would not to go for another concert of his for at least another 3-4 years! To think that this concert got a very good review in ‘The Hindu’!!; Nithyasree – Never saw Music Academy so full! I had started losing interest in her singing by then; Vijay Siva, Unnikrishnan, Malladi Brothers, Sowmya, T.V.Ramprasadh, Saketaraman; Guitar Prasanna – heard him for the first time and liked Carnatic on guitar very much; Ustad Amjad Ali Khan and his sons Amaan and Ayaan Ali Bangash and of course, Sanjay Subrahmanyan. And T.M.Krishna – Though we didn’t attend a few concerts fully, never before had we gone for so many concerts at a stretch!
I would say December Season 2005 was the Season of Charukesi. We happened to listen to so many Charukesis (including an RTP by Sanjay) that by the end of the Season, from being an unfamiliar raagam, this one had become one of our favourites!
Apart from the concerts at Music Academy, there were only a couple of concerts of Sanjay that I went to, that year.
So, that Season was the first time I went for a concert of T.M.Krishna. Begada was the main (How I wish he sings Begada now!). Though I liked the concert, I still didn’t find anything special. Before going for that concert, I remembered that I liked the Poornachandrika kriti in ‘Kshetra Tirupati’ CD and listened to it. After attending the concert, I decided to give it a try again and then, the usual getting-addicted-to-a-single-song happened and I started listening to this song like mad! I then listened to the other songs in that CD and started liking T.M.Krishna’s singing so much that I attended 3 concerts within a span of one week in April 2006 and it was then that my craze for his singing reached new levels! His voice, the clarity in pronunciation, the way he rendered the songs with so much feel, his neravals – I just loved it all! And it was then that TMK’s name too got added to the already lengthy list of people whom I was a fan of. 😛
Carnatic music was becoming a bigger passion by the day. It was not just a form of entertainment anymore. I was slowly finding some performances not just enjoyable but moving. I started listening to more and more recordings and attending more concerts.
But it was at this point of time that I had to be away from Madras for a few months. My sister continued going for as many concerts of Sanjay and TMK as possible and the moment Sahana was sung (Oh yeah I had become Sahana-crazy by then) or when an alapana or swarams was so brilliant, she would immediately call me and I used to listen to the concert for a few minutes, not caring the least about the STD rates!
Writing about 2006 and Carnatic music, there is no way I am not going to mention about Mandolin Srinivas’ Enta Muddo, especially the raagamalika swarams part of it. I will forever be thankful to Sai Prasad for sharing this excellent piece of music with me! My happiness on doing some work so well, me missing my home and Madras, my grumblings when things didn’t go the way I wanted to – this song has seen it all. During all those days when I was not in Madras, my day used to begin and end with this one. Soul-stirring, beautiful, amazing – no words will ever suffice to describe the magic of Srinivas’ playing! It was a dream-come-true for me to hear him play Bindumalini swarams in an RTP during the Season that year.
Those few months of being away from Madras made me realize that if I leave Chennai and go somewhere else, it was not just my home and the city itself that I was going to miss. But it was the kutcheris too. Never can listening to a recording match the experience of attending a live concert. Going for a concert without a clue about what is going to be sung, the thrill in identifying a raagam correctly despite your not being that familiar with it, getting to hear your favourite song/raagam performed when you least expect it, the happiness at the end of a really brilliant concert – never can listening to recordings give you those!
I missed going for concerts so much that from the moment I came back, attending concerts became a part of routine and the rest, as they say, is history. 🙂 And it was also around this time that I started blogging. So, you know what happened after that. 😉
Though my knowledge has improved loads after attending so many concerts, there is still so much for me to learn. I have still not gained enough knowledge to appreciate the technical aspects of singing or in Mridangam or a Ghatam. Coming to my own singing skills, I still have a long, long way to go and of course, a lot more to learn. I still cannot sing a proper alapana or kalpana swarams! Someday I hope to do that. Music class has anyway, remained a part of my routine for such a long time that I now, just cannot imagine me not going for a music class! And I, of course, cannot imagine a life sans Carnatic music as well! 🙂
P.S.: This is my 400th post. 🙂