Ebony & Ivory – Celebrating M.S. & her piano

A concert by Anil Srinivasan (Piano) & Sikkil Gurucharan (Vocal), accompanied by B.S.Pururshothaman on the Khanjira on 24th July, 2009

See the date of the concert. This is another of those posts which I never got around to publishing here. But today when I am lost in the music of Anil Srinivasan & Sikkil Gurucharan, I feel I shouldn’t leave this post unpublished here. So, after adding/rearranging a few lines and reliving the concert all the while, here it is.

Beautiful – that’s the only word that comes to my mind when I think about this concert! There isn’t anything more beautiful than music and the music in this concert has to be one of the most beautiful ones that I listened to in the recent times! (Even after 3 months now, it still holds good) The music got me completely immersed in it and made me forget everything else. Even the pauses in between, when there was just silence, somehow seemed beautiful too!

Every newspaper talked about this upcoming concert in which Anil Srinivasan would be playing the piano of, guess who, M.S.! And there it was – the grand Steinway piano of the legendary M.S. at Koothambalam (the auditorium in Kalakshetra), covered in a saree in classic M.S. blue colour and decorated with jasmine flowers.

The concert started with sindhu bhairavi, a rAgA generally reserved for tukkaDAs, and set the right mood for the pleasant, soothing and soulful music that was to follow for the next couple of hours. nI vArAvirundAl – lines from Kantimati Pillai Tamizh – were sung like a viruttam and it was a rAgamAlikA of sindhu bhairavi, pUrvikalyANi, kalyAnavasantam, nIlambari and madhyamAvati. I loved the nilAmbari part the most, especially the word tAlATTu in the lines sung in nIlAmbari.

It was just Anil’s piano and Gurucharan’s singing for the first piece and it was only in the next piece of the concert, Annamacharya’s kshIrAbdhi kanyakaku that Purushothaman’s Khanjira joined them. Purushothaman mainly played at the concluding parts of each line of this song and this rhythmic end and beginning to each line was nice!

nittirayil soppanattil, a Tamizh padam in pantuvarALi was performed next. pantuvarALi on piano sounds so good!

After the pantuvarALi piece, M.S.’ piano was unveiled by her grandson Srinivasan. nAn oru viLayATTu bommaiyya, one of my most favourite songs, was the only song that was performed in M.S.’ piano. The piano still needed some more repair work to be done and Anil said that that was why they had chosen navarasa kannaDa since that was one of the ragas that could be played in the scale available on the piano.

tAnam in naTabhairavi, a short AlApana of mukhAri by Gurucharan followed by Annamacharya’s brahma kaDigina pAdamu formed the elaborate piece of this concert. After sAramaina in behAg, which didn’t appeal to me much since it’s difficult not to remember TMK’s version, which is my favourite, came a pleasant surprise – kATrinilE varum gItam on the piano alone.

kATrinilE followed by pUnguyil kUvum (misra kApi) and hari tum haro (darbAri kAnaDA) gave the concert a magical finale, which is what resulted in making this concert totally unforgettable. None of the clichéd words like soulful or divine will do justice to the experience of listening to hari tum haro, which was definitely the best piece of the concert! Incidentally, the music of hari tum haro was composed on the very same piano of M.S!

All through the concert, Anil’s piano and Gurucharan’s voice blended so beautifully that I didn’t know which one I enjoyed more. Not to forget Purushothaman’s khanjira, including that mini tani of his and his playing for the tAnams, which only enhanced the beauty of the music even more. All the songs were sung in a leisurely pace and the feel with which Gurucharan sang all the songs and his clear pronunciation of each and every word made it a magical experience. Definitely a concert which will be remembered forever!

5 thoughts on “Ebony & Ivory – Celebrating M.S. & her piano

  1. Srilatha

    Hi Aparna,

    Thanks for such a good review. I was there at the concert and thoroughly enjoyed it. Like u said I prefer the TMK and the Hyd Brothers version of Saramaina.


  2. Sathej

    Thats a nicely written review, Aparna! Very well conveyed. Panthuvarali on piano..hmm..that makes me want to try it now, though I only have a keyboard and not a piano, as such 🙂

  3. Mani

    Nice review! Not sure ‘Ebony & Ivory’ fits the combination. Piano may be Ivory, but Carnatic Vocal can not be bottled into ‘Ebony’. But the combination of Piano and Carnatic Vocal can be blissful. Lucky you Aparna who had the chance to enjoy!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *