Monday, August 16, 2010

TN Sheshagopalan kacheri @ Fine Arts


For a 5.30 pm kacheri of Sri. T.N.Sheshagopalan (who hails from Madurai :D), I ended up at the FINE ARTS society’s auditorium only at 7.30 pm with my 30 yr old best friend KALS (Kalyani hariharan). I could hear him end a really heavy song garnished with thundering mirudangam beats and ganjira. The auditorium appeared packed but somehow we managed to find seats in the last rows.
As soon as I took my seat, I could see very little black haired heads among a sea of cotton colored ones! As expected… Honestly I have never heard T.N.S. sing. I totally depended on KALS’s very unconvincing opinion about him. She claimed that only very few of his songs were masterpieces. But I, unlike her, have no enough knowledge to opinionate on such great vidwans!
As I am a huge FAN of ragam reethigowlai, I was hoping that he sings a song based on this ragam in the remaining 2 hours of the kacheri. He commenced with a song which was based on Abheri. No qualms at all! DID YOU KNOW (:P) that abheri was the 1st ever ragam that I fell for? And coincidently I like all ragams which are derived from KHARAHARAPRIYA ( reethigowlai too is a janyam of this ragam).

He sang the alaapanam as if his lungs and food pipe were well lubricated with nalla yennai (:/). I was eagerly waiting for him to soak into that ragam and present its most beautiful form ever to us but in vain. Somehow somewhere I felt that he wasn’t using the right combination of swarams in his alaapanam. With a slow death of his voice, a gradual birth of the music of VIOLIN( my most favorite instrument) happened and filled the auditorium with divinity!

Have you ever observed that unlike the singers, the violinists play with absolutely zero emotions on their face? Please don’t get any ideas watching the MOHABBATEIN movie where the god of romance Shahrukh Khan twists his eyebrows in all possible ways to emote! Phew! Now getting back to the topic.
The violinist was quite young and was almost as lean as his violin itself! But what is important is his production of shruti suththam, crystal clear, delicate but confident music! I was really blown!
No music would ever sound CARNATIC without the MIRUDANGAM! Without its beats, one hardly enjoys the kacheri! The best kacheris are those which have a vocalist, a violinist, a mirudangam player, a moarsing player and a tambura player (who are nowadays easily replaced by a shruti box). The mirudangam player was as good as the violinist. His beats made me choreograph a whole bharatanatyam segment in my mind (I know hardly 5 steps which I keep repeating in different directions! (:P). I enthusiastically looked at kals to find a mirrored reaction…sigh! She told me that the mirudangam is still sleeping and yet to be awoken! :O
My very first keerthanai in abheri was NAGUMOMU and ever since it has had a special place in my heart. And for your information, my parents feel that that is the only song which I sing properly with absolutely no mistakes! (:D). I would always listen to this keerthanai rendition by all possible artists and adopt the best from them. Hence I was having my fingers crossed when TNS chose this ragam. Nagummmmoooomuuuu…that’s how he started but hey! This song sounds good only in a slow rendu kalai version! I sat up alert and assimilated every note of his rendition. But something that was just unforgivable was that he was splitting almost all the words and making them sound so meaningless! God save shri thyagaraja (the composer of the song). He slowly started with the KALPNASWARAMS while the ganjira player started picking his nose (:/) What he dint realize is that he became the focal point of the kacheri and all were busy making faces watching him. Somehow he drew his white handkerchief and put it to use! Phew! Much better! The kalpanaswarams contained the right permutation and combination of the swarams and he played very well with Ni and Sa! And definitely the finishing touch after each kalapanaswaram line played by the violin was such a relief to OUR ears!
When the thani avarthanam started, people were so heartless enough to get up and rush out in groups! I felt so bad for the performers! Most of the carnatic listeners somehow have not learnt to enjoy the beats of mirudangam and ganjira sans the vocals! Sigh! What a pity man! I enjoyed them by enthusiastically slapping my thigh with rendu kalai aadi talam. And finally the end of the song with the usual formal claps.

The rest of the songs were really not a feast to my ears. I was whiling away time watching people sleeping, yawning and myself also yawning (:P) but there were handful of people who were still nodding their heads wildly for anything and everything he sang! Probably some crazy fans of his.(:P)
But them he was back to shape in his last piece where he chose SUBHA PANTHUVARALI. I have heard of the ragam and the only song I know is a meera bhajan NANDA NANDANA in Hindustani sung by LATA MANGESHKAR (got goose bumps listening to her!) He did do justice to the ragam during alaapanam and the violinist was at his best! He continued singing the ragam with a pallavi called NEEDU PAADAME GATHI. Aaha! What lyrics! Besh besh! The surprise element he had saved for all these hours was really surprising! He sang the pallavi in various ragams some of which I could identify. They were mohanam, hindolam, nattai, gowla, arabhi, varali, sree, vasantha, chakravaham, hamsanadam, bilahari, kamboji, reethigowlai (yippee!), neelambari etc… (water please!!!) He deserved a standing ovation for this piece which he got!
I casually checked my cell and discovered 2 things.
1.It was 10.30 pm ( biting my nails)
2.There were 5 missed calls from a number named HOME!
YIKESSSSSSSSSS!!!!!! How the rest of my day (rather night) went, I leave it you to imagine the obvious considering the above two aspects! :P And to remind you, I am an iyer girl!!!!!!

hari om dudes and dudettes! :P


  1. Nice Nice!!!...(Reethigowlai)In short, the purpose of your visit to Kacheri was fulfilled!! :P....

  2. i nvr tot u wer soo in-detail abt music.....gr8 goin....!!

  3. @karthik: hahaha! well he just sang one line in reethigowlai! :P

  4. @ gotam: well now you know! so if u iterested in such keep visiting!

  5. Hey Akilu
    I like your quality of appreciating others talent. That is so nice to see in my sweet niece :) Keep it up

  6. Your Blog on culture is a good step on thinking about things in depth. Its real we do not understand other cultures unless we spend sufficient time there.
    Looking forward for more writings and thoughts from you.


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