Monday, December 10, 2012

An Early start to the season - Malladi Brothers at Tattvaloka

Yesterday I woke up to the fact that the music season is no longer Maargazhi music season or December music season or Madras Music season for that matter. With Bharathi Vidya bhavan and a few sabhas starting their programmes in November and first week of December, it is now the "Chennai music season"!

Somehow I had always associated this with Margazhi and I failed to notice that Singapore Indian Fine Arts in collaboration with Carnatic Radio, had started their music festival in Tattvaloka, Teynampet, an auditorium few minutes away from my place. I was casually turning the pages of the sunday Hindu and suddenly noticed that there was a free Malladi Brothers concert that evening happening very near by.  I searched and realized that I had missed a few good ones in the past few days - likes of Sowmya, Gurucharan. However I was glad at the propsect of listening to Malladi Brothers. I went in 30 minutes ahead so that I could get a good seat and an youngster by name Nishanth Thiagarajan from Singapore was  just winding up his concert. While SIFA tries to get  popular artistes sing in the evening to draw the crowds, their main goal is to give an opportunity to youngsters from Singapore to showcase their talent to the carnatic world. Nishanth was ok but I didn't pay much attention.

The crowd slowly started trickling in and the auditorium was full by the time the Malladi Brothers duo walked in and settled down. With accomplished artistes as accompaniments - Mannargudi Eswaran on mridangam, M.A.Sundaresan on the violin, the show promised to be an exciting one. One of the brothers announced that the concert was dedicated to their Parama guru Dr. Pinakapani who is celebrating his 100th year. After an interesting speech about Dr. Pinakapani, the concert started. It seems Dr. Pinakapani sings for 6 hours in a day even at the age of 100!

Manasija Koti Lavanya, a varnam in Hindolam and composed by Dr.Pinakapani was a promising and fitting start to the concert. Daritapuleka in Saveri followed. Naadadina Maata , Thiagaraja's plea to Lord Rama to keep up his promise, was rendered with a lot of depth. The main item chosen was Satatam Tavaka, a Swati Thirunal Krithi in Karahara Priya. It was delivered with all the improvisations which one expects out of a Malladi Brothers Concert. The Percussion artists and the violin did a great job of the Korvai.

"Ninnu Juchi" a Padam in Punnakavarali was a real stand out. It was sung so well that I had a feeling that all the snakes in the area would make a dash for the auditorium and seriously considered keeping my legs on the chair towards the middle of the song.

Malladi Brothers filled the auditorium with their vibrant voices and impressed the audience with the depth of their knowledge and their improvisations. Apart from these, I think the kind of dynamics and variety these two bring together, the passion they exhibit and the way they connect with the audience, the way they set up the mood of a raga and delve into it, all constitute the uniqueness of a Malladi Brothers concert.

A great beginning to the season. Looking forward to the real margazhi season starting next week, now that I have a season ticket at Parthasarathy Sabha:-)

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