Violin : Mysore Nagaraj & Mysore Dr.Manjunath
Mrudangam : K U Jayachandra Rao
Ghatam : Giridhar Udupa
Cajón , Rhythm Pad, Morsing, Chime : Pramath Kiran ( with a whole variety of other small percussion instruments)
Theme : Music Maja – A Children’s Special
Magicians : Satish Kumar & Revathi
01. shrI gaNanAtha – malahari – Purandara Dasa ( O )
02 vAtApi gaNapatim – hamsadhwani – Dikshitar ( A,S )
03 nArAyaNa ninna – sudha dhanyAsi – Purandara Dasa ( S )
04 rAmA nI samanamevvaru – kharaharapriya – thyagaraja ( A,N,S )
05 girirAjasutA tanaya – bangALa – Thyagaraja
06 brOchEvAravarurA – khamAs – Mysore Vasudevacharya
07 sAmaja vara gamanA – hindOLam – Thyagaraja ( O )
08 enna tavam seithanai – kApi – Papanasam Sivan
09 bhAgyAda lakshmi bAramma – madhyamAvathi – Purandara Dasa
Music Maja is an unusual theme. Not sure if they meant it to be ‘maja’ with music or music itself is ‘maja’, if you are able to understand and appreciate it. It was also announced as a ‘Children’s special’.. well, on ‘Valentine’s Day’. The intend was to get kids and young ones attracted to classical art forms. The only way to do that is to make it appealing to them. In his speech, the Secretary of Karnataka Fine Arts , Sri Aravind Brahmakal talked about ‘Rights to FineArts’ to every students in the country. How to make it appealing to the kids is to have an interactive musical session and also provide ‘space’ for them to have fun while listening to music. Whatever little amount of musical knowledge they gather, is going to help them in future. If it succeeds in avoiding an aversion in them against a classical piece of art, these attempts are partially successful.
While the artists tried their bit in making it interactive with the kids, at least in the initial part, it was more the parallel stream of activities, connected to music and otherwise that kept the children engaged. The understanding between the magicians and the artists on the stage was admirable. Having said that the music that was presented was un-adulterated or was not diluted in any way. It would have been difficult to retain their poise and concentration with all the other activities going around in between each presentation, especially when they were also participating in them to whatever small extent.
After a brief inaugural function, the concert started with Manjunath explaining the theme. He said, even they aren’t planned anything in particular but wanted to go with the theme of Music Maja. He interestingly started with ‘lambOdhara’, which he said would be known to most of the students of music. He then put a question to the kids if they have heard ‘hamsadhwani’. an overwhelming ‘yes’ came from the audience, and he proceeded with a question on which kriti do they heard in hamsadhwani. Majority were , not surprisingly , vAtApi and they decided to play the same. A short alapana preceded the kriti from Manjunath. There was an extended swaraprasthana with the percussion team coming into action. Pramath Kiran chipped in witih a variety of the instrument here from cajon, Rhythm pad to morsing. Some impressive interplay between violin and percussion kept the audience alive. Magician came into play at this time. Picking a few kids and putting them on some task until the next song was played out. There was whole lot of action in front of the stage, while the artists continued their act with ‘nArayana ninna’.
Kharaharapriya main came in soon. manjunath started the alapana, which was shared between the two as it progressed. There was no ‘maja’ part here, but pure classical fair to its grand stature. Well, there was a small impressive tAnam round as they completed the alapana. Samanamevvaru started fabulously with a brilliant engagement from the mrudangam. Short neraval at ‘paluku paluku’ before another grand kalpana swaras with percussion team running riot to an enthralling effect.
Another interaction with the youngsters begun now with a quiz. Seated in front some 12 senior kids were given a pre-set question paper to answer before the next kriti was presented. A request ‘ grirAjasuta tanaya’ gave them ample time to write their answers. The quiz continued with another 5 questions , 2 from the artists and 3 from Ravathi. Taking on from her , the artists played khamas kriti of Vasudevacharya before handing out to the percussion for Tani Avartanam.
The percussion team was having fun on stage, and was free to express the way they deemed fit to the occasion. While many different sounding instruments in percussion aren’t very appealing in a classical concert, under the ‘majA’ umbrella they all made a lot more fun and enjoyable. Pramath Kiran made most use of his ‘possessions’. While the magicians continued their art on stage, the artists concluded the concert with few quick pieces ( selected out of the pouring requests) and ‘bhagyada lakshmi bAramma’.
The atmosphere was electric. There were a lot of distractions , planned and executed carefully. The hall was in abundance of kids and young ones, who had a ball of a time. Artists were also visibly upbeat and having fun in their own way ( a few paper ball throwing at each other, a hidden ‘Cadbury Chocolate’ piece secretly savoured, pulling each other on occasionally , trying to balance the fun outside the music with their own ..etc). Given these ‘music maja’ elements, serious listeners also had a good fair in the concert.
Good attempt from the organisers to bring kids into the concert hall and engage them musically and otherwise for over 2hr and 30 mis were laudable. This may not be the final destination, but a step in right direction. With more mind at work, there is definitely scope to build on this.
Staying with the “music Maja” theme, I couldn’t resist this observation from sharing. This is the first time I’m seeing four ‘macaroni headed’ artists together on stage 🙂
PS : The second concert of the day was a much more serious affair. Pt Sanjeev Abhayankar presented a brilliant hindustani vocal concert. A fabulous rAgEshri, followed by an outstanding ‘Madhukauns’ were the highlights. Shorter versions of dEsh, a devotional song and an abhang in sindhubhairavi were the rest of the items.