It has been raining continuously in Chennai from thursday evening thanks to Cyclone Thane. I braved the downpour and made it to the Music Academy along with my family for Nisha Rajagopal's afternoon concert. I expected to just breeze through and get a parking slot at the academy which was not the case. By the time I parked at St.Ebbas and walked back in the rain, Nisha was into the aalapana for what was most likely her second song. The ragam reminded me of some popular Ilayaraja songs. I learnt later that it was lataangi.
Conscious of the canteen closing time, we had headed straight to the canteen. After taking a took at Iyengar's elaborate menu, a special one at that - with urulakezhangu vadhakkal, paavakkai pitlai and so on, I smacked my lips, rubbed my hands and sat down. As the items were lined up one by one, I noticed that the crowd was pretty good despite the rain and ankle deep water on the floor.
As I started eating, Nisha started on "Pirava Varam vendum" through the speakers. I don't know what exactly happened after that but by the time I came out of the spell, I found myself towards the end of my meal having curd rice. While the rendition was amazing, It was also refreshing to listen to a tamil song with proper pronunciation which brought out the beauty of Papanasam Sivan's lyrics very well. I gathered myself and walked into the auditorium and found a seat. The crowd inside was also good considering the rains.
Venugana loluni followed and was a real treat. After breezing through a few songs came Soundara rajam in Brindavana Saranga. Now don't get carried away, I got the raga right because the song itself has the raga name in the first few lines. Though I didn't understand the lyrics, I could still appreciate the love the composer had for Lord vishnu. I guess that is the beauty of the raga and the composition.
Ramachandraya namaste was a fulfilling main song laden with improvisations - the alaapana, tanam, detailed swara improvisations ending with tani avartanam. After Madhava maamava, when the concert ended with "Aarumo aaval" I was winding up with a dose of strong coffee and the crowds were lining up for the next concert which happened to be Sudha Ragunathan's. The margazhi music season ends this weekend. What started as love for food ended up as love for music as well this year. An apt song to end a lovely experience over the last 2 weeks I thought. After all there is no end to the love for good food and music