Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Jus Fusion-Kriya at OMR Escapade, Kriyates- Rasikapriya Festival- 13th Dec'14

The OMR music festival organised by Rasikapriya had just begun, marking its début. The very atmosphere was unconventional in every sense- the place, and the event by itself. An evening which wasn't for an esoteric crowd- quite clearly threatening to melt the heart of even a layman. Jus Fusion- Kriya, as the band was named, were unfazed by the predictably unpredictable Chennai rains. The music they created was a euphoric treat amidst the breezy, neatly mowed locale of OMR. 

The band consisted of S.Muralikrishnan on the Drums, Karaikal Venkatasubramanian on the Violin, Madurai B Sundar on the Mridangam, Varun on the Keyboard and Mridul on the Guitar. A set of 11 songs they played were a transportation of sorts to joy land. Murali was quite charming on the mike too- announcing the names of each composition and the ragas in which they were composed. No question of being raga-illiterate there, the hunger was well-fed in terms of music and knowledge. 

The names of compositions were just as stimulating: Ganesh in raga Hamsadhwani, Walking in the Dream set to the raga Malayamarutham, Brahma- in raga Jog, Lotus Colony in ragas Chala Nattai and Pantuvarali, Chennai Rain- in raga Madhyamavathi and Out in the Wild- in raga Kalyani: one outdid the other. However, Chennai Rain takes the cake, for it was a contemporary piece that blended seamlessly with the wet weather in Chennai. The other songs that ensued were Yentharo Mahanubhavulu , Raguvamshasudha, Bho Shambo, Kurai Ondrum Ilai and Vande Mataram- not to forget the thaniavartanam which was incorporated into the fusion with so much ease. 

Engineers by profession and musicians by passion - could be a one liner to describe this beautiful band of musicians. A special mention to the violinist, he easily zipped past the sounds of all fellow accompanists, making sure to lure us with every sound he produced. Nevertheless, Murali's power with the drums could never go amiss despite a power outage for a few seconds- he continued to play on without letting an eyelid batter. That happened exactly during the song Chennai rain- just as unpredictable! Drums power was royal during the song Bho Shambo- as powerful as the deity that was being invoked. Something as simple as 'hara hara shankara jaya jaya shankara' blended with the raga Revathy was magnetic. 

Carnatic music is certainly treading along newer realms with each season witnessing a sense of novelty. Jus Fusion-Kriya was one such. Thanks to the band for an exotic evening.

Photo courtesy: S. Murali Krishnan (Drums Murali)

Monday, December 15, 2014

Tribute to Mandolin U Shrinivas at Tchaikovsky Music Club - Russian Centre Of Science And Culture - Sunday, 14th Dec'14

Sunday couldn't have started better- last night's showers gave way to some morning warmth- with a blissful session of piano, mandolin and ganjira. The artistes included: Anil Srinivasan on the piano, U.Rajesh on the Mandolin and Krishna Kishore on the ganjira. The melancholy of Shrinivas’ demise was wiped out albeit just temporarily, through the music produced by his brother U.Rajesh.  The performance was the season’s first festival dedicated to Mandolin U. Shrinivas. Being the first musician to use the electric mandolin in Carnatic music, every tune played was but a resonation of the sounds produced by the maestro.

All the compositions played were personal favorites of Shrinivas – they were recorded 14 yrs ago in his presence- all the ragas chosen to be played had been recommended by Shrinivas to both Anil and Rajesh. The morning began with the raga shyama with the lilting notes of Annapoorne Visalakshi – which gradually gave way to raga dhenuka with the song Teliyaleru Rama. Kaliyuga Varadha composed in the raga Brindavana Saranga was heart rendering; especially with some fleeting moments during a prelude consisting of an eclectic raga assortment- nalinakanthi, reetigowlai, chandrakauns and bilahari- This song was composed by Shrinivas for the Hollywood movie’s sound track- Eat Pray Love.

A tall vinyl image with black and white undertones of the maestro adorned the stage – setting a class apart. The concert closed with John McLaughlin’s composition–Lotus Feet, in raga durbari kanada - Shrinivas had rendered his alluring Mandolin notes to this heartwarming unison of eastern and western classical music.

Picture courtesy: Agni Sharman- Photography blogger

Friday, December 12, 2014


O come all ye faithful and joy to the world
Ring in cheer along with the fervour of yentaro mahanubhavulu and bruhimukundeti.
While the smell of filter kaapi engulfs Chennai's December air,
A glass of red wine and a slab of plum cake threaten to entertain better.
Chennai's December is special;
A shankarabharanam of sorts:
When the western notes of shankarabaranam seamlessly blend with its carnatic counterpart.
A point of convergence- Carols vs Kutcheris or Kutcheris vs Carols?
All the same- for its Chennai, and coexistence is a way of life!