From the aspiring musician to the senior veteran, the December margazhi festival in Chennai evokes feelings of anticipation, heightened expectation and a throbbing excitement. All the sabha venues are abuzz with the busy hum of the Season activity - from concert to canteen, discussions of the latest concerts, lec-dems, who is in form or out, abound. We have been part of this wonderful Margazhi from the year 1988, and the joy and thrill that the music season brings is still as fresh as it was for us when we were young girls.
Starting with our concert for Kartik Fine arts on 4th December 2010, and ending with two very special concerts, December season 2010 has been full of exciting and fulfilling concerts.
A few memorable concerts were our concerts at Brahma Gana Sabha, Tyaga Brahma Gana Sabha at Vani Mahal, Narada Gana Sabha, The Music Academy and our four hour concert for Kalarasana at Rani Seethai Hall. In Brahma Gana Sabha, the lovely vivadhi raga Manoranjani was the highlight, as also the Ragam-Tanam-Pallavi in Raga Abhogi. Like last year, we presented Ragam-Tanam-Pallavi-s in not-so-familiar ragas. In Season 2009, it was Tri-raga Pallavi in Saraswati, Lalita and Durga, and RTP-s in Saramathi, Sarasangi, Khamas, Kamalamanohari to name a few of the Pallavis that we handled. This year, we sang Ragam-Tanam-Pallavis in Ritigowlai at Narada Gana sabha, Dwijavanti at The Music Academy, Dvi-raga pallavi in Mohanam/Ranjani at Kalarasana. The Ritigowlai pallavi was a Thirukkural. It was a joy to sing the RTP in Dwijavanti, which seems an unlikely choice, given the seemingly limited scope of it in the Carnatic context! However, the raga has immense possibilities, and we tried to weave in both the Carnatic and Hindustani styles of rendering it. Kambhoji, Bhairavi, Thodi, Karaharapriya, Saveri, Kalyani - the infinite possibilities and the richness of these ragas leave us with a sense of wonder and reverence. These familiar, oft-repeated ragas sometimes bless you with a vision so fresh and new, yet timeless in its charm and beauty...
What was perhaps most satisfying to us were our violin duet concerts at the Krishna Gana Sabha and Kalarasana. To come back to the violin after a gap, was a trip down memory lane, kindling nostalgia of our earlier years when we were violinists. It was a joy to go back to the instrument and discover that the old skills still linger! Our violin concert at Kalarasana was dedicated to the memory of our guru Late Sri T.S.Krishnaswami. Another memorable concert was the four hour concert for Kalarasana, where the audience not only were there before we arrived in the hall, but stayed back till the end of the concert which lasted for well over four hours.
We owe a huge debt of gratitude to our accompanists who were instrumental (pun intended!) in lifting our concerts to greater heights. H.N.Bhaskar, Manoj Siva and Arun Prakash have been performing with us for so long, that they are virtually third voices and not accompanists! Charumathi Raghuraman, who accompanied us in Narada Gana Sabha and The Music Academy was in fine fettle - incidentally, it was her maiden evening concert at the Academy and she did a fantastic job. The nadam and aesthetics of K.V.Prasad stand out, his playing for our Indian Fine Arts concert was a joy to hear. Each and every accompanist - Poongulam Subramaniam(Mridangam), Delhi Sairam (Mridangam), Neyveli Skandasubramaniam(Mridangam), Karthik(Ghatam), Trichy Murali (Ghatam), Ravi Balasubramaniam(Ghatam), B.S.Purushottam(Kanjira), B.U.Ganesh Prasad(Violin), Mysore Srikanth (Violin)Guruprasad(Ghatam), K.V.Gopalakrishnan(Kanjira) have contributed immensely to the success of our concerts.
But as a fitting finale to the Season, there was a surprise in store for us. For our vocal concert at the Anjaneya temple at Nanganallur, the violinist could not accompany us due to ill health. We could not find a violinist to take his place at the last minute, and we ended up accompanying ourselves! Though many of our rasikas have asked us to simultaneously do both vocal and violin on the same platform, we have never tried doing this! Perhaps it was the will of Lord Hanuman that we had to do it here! It was quite a challenge, and an exciting one! To be honest, we had a few misgivings about doing both and wondered if there would be a missing link in the concert. But surprisingly, we felt quite at ease handling the dual roles of vocalists and violin accompanists and the concert was a tremendous success.. A nice way to end a memorable season!