- Padma Jayaraj,
At a time
when divisive politics rule our land, artists choose to send a strong message
of finding harmony in an apparent assortment that is India. Thalam organized
two musical evenings that send the message, "unity in diversity," recently
in Thrissur, the cultural capital of Kerala.
conceived, designed and directed by Soorya Krishnamoorthy, is a fusion
of the vocal and the visual that projects the great dream of Mahatma Gandhi,
the Father of our Nation. A group of 55 artists, dancers and percussionists,
showcased a mega spectacle.
began with the evocative prayer, "Raghupathy Raghava raja raam...."
that set the tone and tenor of a religious India with its multiplicity
of faiths and beliefs. It also highlighted the ironic dimension we find
ourselves in, today, here. A fusion of contemporary and traditional dance
followed. Dancers in different costumes represented the regional diversity
of our motherland, expressed through different dress codes. Dance in different
styles, folk, classical, and contemporary, attuned to the same rhythmic
pattern displayed the spirit of India flowing through the ages.
dance that reminded one of the movements of martial arts and the poise
of yoga was a befitting opening. Gujarati folk dance, side by side with
Kathak performers was an inspiring jugalbandhi. Mohiniattam and
Bharatanatayam gave the same meaning in different formats. Characters from
ritual performances like Padayani, Theyyam and the classical Kathakali
showcased the same spirit, yet so different in form: the body language
special; artistic presentation singular.
between visuals came a musical interlude of violin recital by Attukal Balasubramanian.
Here too, the focus was more on rhythm.
concert followed another visual performance. Attukal Balasubraanian
played the role of the conductor. A fusion of Carnatic, Hindustani, and
Western Classical blended. Western keyboard (Jijith), Chenda (Mattanoor
Sankaran kutty), Thavil, (karunamoorthy) Mridangam, (Mahesh) and Drums
(Malamuri Sasi) vibrated in the deepening twilight.
spectacle was a kaleidoscope that showed the nuances of the same life we
lead in India. The heart of India beat in the same pulse, show the same
If The Rhythm
was a mega event, spectacular and loud that subdued the senses, Saptaswara
Sudha, two days later, was a different show. From a rhythmic backdrop,
music came to the fore, music evocative, soft and soul stirring. Organized
by Sopanam and Thalam, clubs that promote culture in Kerala,
it was an innovative attempt to enhance the awareness of the lay audience.
had two segments, classical and film songs. The classical part lead by
Dr. Sreevalsan introduced a classical raga. A lecture-demo followed. He
began with a varnam, "ninnu kori..." in raga Mohanam, adi
thalam. Then he spoke on its main features, its history, its folk strains.
He also showed how raga Mohanam is found in European, Korean and Japanese
music. In Hindustani, the same is known as Bhupali. That all these
strains are variants of the same raga was an eye-opener. It acquires a
divine aura which is close to a revelation for lay audience.
Dr. Satheesh Bhatt, a well-known playback singer focused on film songs,
supported by Trans Orchestra. They sang all time hits based in Mohana ragam.
Instead of singing the entire song, they sang the beginnings of many hits
evoking memories thorough melodies that music lovers carry in their hearts.
And they chose film songs from Malayalam, Tamil, and Hindi. Once again
the information on how film songs take only one feature or the soul and
spirit of a particular raga or some time mix different ragas to create
a thing of beauty, brought in a different wakefulness and appreciation.
From classical to popular, from folk to standard versions, melody scaled
up and down. The rendering established how light music has become a genre
enjoyed by all and sundry.
showcased Sree raga, Hindolam, Kamboji, Sindhu Bhairavi, Neelambari,
Kapi and Brindavanasaranga.
ragam Kalyani, was presented in a different way. Film songs based
in Kalyani created a receptive mood to the understanding of its classical
features. Its Hindustani counterpart Yaman, and film songs in Hindi,
was a treat. A jugalbandhi followed between violin (Edappally Ajith)
and flute (Rison) that stilled the mind. Then came thaniyavarthanam
by the percussionists. The prismatic effect was superb. Music flowed like
sunrays through a prism: each instrument giving a different tone to the
same note. And all hearts beat in unison.
The film songs
ranged from lullabies to romantic; devotional to sorrowful ones. The melodious
evening evoked all moods known to the human mind and played with all emotions
known to human hearts revealing how the spirit of music belongs to a realm
far above human reach. Here is divinity so near yet above, that the human
soul aches and longs for it.
program ended with janaganamana.... The event was an invocation
to our motherland.
Jayaraj is a freelance journalist and a regular contributor to www.narthaki.com