Sunday, December 2, 2012

Music in the air - Margazhi 2012

Chennai is getting ready to welcome the mystic month of Margazhi. There is a sudden chillness in the air as Margazhi approaches which is a welcome break from the otherwise hot Chennai weather but that is not the only thing about Margazhi. It is time for the music season which has become some sort of an identity for Chennai over the last few decades.

The weekend news paper is loaded with advertisements from all the major Sabhas and there are a dozen or maybe even a score. While all the Sabhas try to get the popular artists and all the stars try to accommodate every Sabha, the good thing is there is also a lot of encouragement for youngsters. There are free 2 to 3 free Kutcheri slots every day in the schedule where the new comers are given a chance and many of them have made it big. I listened to some of them last year - Nisha Rajagopal, Amrita Murali, Sandeep Narayan and I am glad to note that some of them have advanced to the evening slots this year.

I listened to Nisha Rajagopal twice last year and she was really outstanding . The mini hall in Narada Gana Sabha was over flowing and the TTK auditorium in Music Academy was full despite heavy rain. Malladi brothers, the duo were amazing and I will make it a point to hear them again this year.

While the numerous artists dish out delectable concerts and enthrall the audiences who keep increasing with every passing year, the music season is not only about music. The smell of filter coffee, the tasty traditional lunch that is served on a plantain leaf and the hot tiffin items that melt in your mouth and add to that gastronomic pleasure, are very much an integral part of the season.  There is a healthy (?) competition not only between the artists but also some of the leading caterers in the city. It is Padmanabha Iyengar at the academy, Mountbatten Mani at Parthasarathy Sabha, Gnanambiga at Vani Mahal and Arusuvai Arasu at Kamarajar Arangam. You will have to see and experience it to believe the array of items that they have to offer. The music season on the whole is an experience which appeals to all senses and good feeling cannot be really explained in words.

Like the last two years, I am really looking forward to the two weeks of Sabha hopping both for food and music. It is going to be a packed schedule and I have started picking the concerts and the Sabhas I want to visit. There are still 2 weeks to go but I can feel the music and the aroma of good food lingering in the air already!

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