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Friday, December 23, 2005

An Incredible Experience: Malladi Bros./Mysore Nagaraj/UKS/EMS at Mylapore Fine Arts on 23/12/05

It's not often that one experiences a sustained and heightened state of ecstasy for 3 or more hours. A state where one has simply transcended hunger, thirst, other internal and external reminders of a human existence. I was fortunate to experience such a state on Friday, Dec. 23, 2005, thanks to what must be the best concert I have attended in my life - Malladi Brothers Sreerama Prasad and Ravikumar with Mysore Nagaraj, Umayalpuram Sivaraman and E M Subramanian at Mylapore Fine Arts.

I had attended the Brothers' concert at The Music Academy the previous day. Although their performance at the Academy was overall excellent, I got the impression that their planning and coordination could have been better. So it was with a little apprehension that I ventured into the premises of the Mylapore Fine Arts. However, that apprehension was dispelled soon, when they launched into Janaki Ramana, one of my favorite krithis (I got hooked onto this krithi after listening to a recording of Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer's rendition (in a 1950s Music Academy concert). I have since listened to the recording a few hundred times - I keep coming back to it, drawn by the haunt of the raga and his kalpana swara at Raktha Nalinadhala Nayana Nripala). There was no turning back after that krithi: the concert rose to higher levels with every krithi that followed. The choice of compositions (raga, composer) and their presentation (alapana/neraval/swara/timing/duration) was as perfect as could be. The coming together of musical geniuses, adding to and in the process elevating each others brilliance, what an effect!

Song list:

Kedaragowlai varnam
Janaki Ramana - Suddha Seemandhini
Kalaharana - Suddha Saveri
Ni Chitthamu - Dhanyasi
Nagagandhari - Nagagandhari
Sri Kanthimathim - Hemavathi
Ma Kelara - Ravichandrika
RTP - Begada - Chathusra Jathi Ata Thala (Pallavi: Karunajoodave Thripurasundari Parameswari Shivasankari Kathyayani Kalyani)
Sevika Vendum Ayya - Andolika
Padam - Saranga
Akativelala - Revathi
Ramachandrudithadu - Dwijavanthi
Marali Marali Jayamangalamu - Madhyamavathi

Sri Sivaraman was outstanding: he showed how he could make the Mridangam sing. He egged on Sri Nagaraj, after the Brothers had finished the korvai for the main piece - he was relishing the experience too, and that made it that much more special for us in the audience. He was so charged up, so involved that when the Brothers requested him to do the tri-kalam for the pallavi (even before they started kalpana swara for the pallavi), he launched into an express thani! Not that there is anything wrong with that. His "accompaniment" for Ma Kelara was out of the world.

Of course, this is not to say that the concert could not have been better. For instance, it could have been a couple of hours longer! :) And the mind boggles at the thought of the genius of the late Harishankar complementing that of the Brothers, Nagaraj and Sivaraman on this day. What an experience that would have been!

I hope this concert has been recorded and will be released unedited for the public.

This concert was what music is all about!


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