Venue : St. George's Ground, Poonamalee
Had the good fortune to be a part of this concert .. Right after the Sharjah concert and the rehearsals happened on 19th night, when everyone had driven down to rehearse straight from the airport. Except for those who were in Chennai, everyone was super tired and sleep deprived.
The concert had Shivamani ji, Hariharan ji, Shankar Mahadevan ji, Blaaze, Nithyashree ji, Sadhna Sargam ji, Madhushree ji, Neeti Mohan, Javed Ali, Naresh Iyer, Benny Dayal, Karthik, Darshana (who sang her Maduraikku pogadhedee for the first time on stage), Rayhana ji, Ishrath ji, Tanvi, Sayonara, Aslam Khan, Aslam Mohammad, Dr. Narayan and yours truly.
The crowds were one of the best we had seen in recent times and almost about 50,000 strong. Super charged. Only yesterday must have been one of the sultriest in recorded history and the facial tissue business would have had record sales thanks to us.
My first song in the show was Munbe Va, there was a lot of trepidation as long as singing this song was concerned, but it turned out OK. Thank God. It was one of those times that I saw Srinivasamurthy uncle give me a wide smile right after I sang.
Some of the songs that were performed: Jaage Hain, New York Nagaram, Varaha nadhikkarai oram, Dil Se, Pray for me brother, Athiradee, Vaji Vaji, Jashn - E - Bahaara, Girlfriend, Mayya Mayya, Rubaroo, Khwaja mere, Endrendrum Punnagai, In Lamhon Ke, Style, Ellapugazhum, Chaiyya Chaiyya, Barso Re, Madhuraikku Pogadhedee to name a few. Kannodu Kaanbadhellam, in a very special presentation with Nithyashree, Palanivel sir on the Thavil, a Nadaswaram and a mridangam vidwan as well. She presented a short classical intro before going on to Kannodu. Sadhana ji sand Main Vaari Vaari and Udhaya Udhaya as well. Later Sivamani ji and Palanivel sir gave a thaniavarthanam. Steve on the guitars had a solo performance as well which lead to Girlfriend.
Hariharanji taught the audience a thing or two about notes. He sang sa, then ri, traversed the octave, went into bundles of four notes and then goes extempore which has the audience screaming every time.
I absolutely love the way Shankar ji performs. Wish I could have a fraction off his energy.
A lot of people in the audience held up pictures of Rahman sir and one particular (hopefully) hand-painted one drew my attention. The adrenalin, the energy, the reaction that the audience everywhere and anywhere gives out whenever they see Rahman sir enter the stage and just before he sings, and when he hits the notes that no one else can reach. WOW. The best thing is that its infectious. Most of them I was screaming from the backstage only to be reminded, each time by mom that I have to sing and I should not scream all that much. More often than not, the fan in me takes over. No matter how many times I sing for Rahman sir, I am always excited like I am singing for the first time. I know, of the few things that wont change in me, this would find its place on the top of the list. I thank God, count my blessings each time I am singing for Rahman sir. There are lakhs and lakhs and many more all over the world who want to sing for him, nay even be in the same square foot as he stands in. A lot of the fans that come to his concerts I have realized, are worshipers.
I remember the time as a 10 -11 year old that I had decided in my mind I should sing for Rahman sir. It was quite a stubborn will and God was kind enough to fulfill that wish for me. And of course so many more.
Loved being part of this one and I pray for more. What more can I say?
Actually there is one more thing that I can say. I have been noticing that I am probably writing pretty much the same way as long as describing concerts are concerned.
Also I have to add that I am getting some repetitive comments on "Ji".
It is not possible for me to not append "Ji" or "Sir" after the great names that I mention in my blog. Yep, it might be the thing to do when you report about something, but I cannot and will not eschew the very basic mark of respect. There is a certain something that Classical Musicians do. When a musician takes the name of either his/her Guru or other musical stalwarts in public congregation or even in humble company of 3-4 people, they always touch their ear. Its a gesture asking for forgiveness for mentioning their name. Such gestures are going out of practice, some of the beautiful things in our culture. Which is a sad thing. Every musical tradition, especially when that is principally handed down for generations together, along with the notes, the attitude and some behavioral practices that a musician must adhere to are taught, and it must be religiously and respectfully followed no matter how times change. To those of us who hold on to it, me in this case, are subjected to ridicule. Unfortunately, "respect", "strict" "traditional practices" seem to have become bad words. If I touch the feet of an elder, that is not supposed to be cool to do either, but sorry I beg to and proud to differ. I have been brought up to do so in. In my family and in scores of others youngsters are taught to touch the feet of elders whenever we see them. When we were kids the elders gave us one rupee when we did that. Positive reinforcement of good behavior; that is what it is called. The habit sticks on for life.
Also, I have come to realize that a mother like mine is very rare creation. I treasure her, worship her in my heart of hearts and I want her to be part of my good times wherever I go. Be it a movie, the beach, a show. Whatever. I don't know why it is considered unnatural to have my mom with me. I love my mom's company. And thankfully I am in a profession that allows me to have my mom with me wherever I go. She is the architect of my career, my life. She is my guide. And I need and want my guide with me. For the decades that she will be with me. So in this case, even though there are some nitwits who intentionally hurt both my mom and me, saying this and that. I am slowly learning not to care for the opinions of nitwits. Its difficult. But I am learning. I am not Buddha that negative comments have the same effect as water on duck's back. But I intend to cultivate to be dispassionate for compliments and negative comments. I don't want to call such comments criticism because critics make a note of certain minuses that can be converted to pluses. Some things that we might fail to make note of. Thats what genuine critics are. They help us stick to the pursuit of perfection.
Anyway coming back.........
This is not a newspaper report where personal sentiments of the writer don't come into play. I am a singer who writes about things that happen to me and I can't be dispassionate. And I think its impossible for me to be dispassionate in some things in life. I am extremely, madly, passionately in love with singing and music. And how can I just take a reporting tone on it?
That said, I will probably hold back writing about concerts so much henceforth.
Like they say, somethings are better left unsaid. Or in this case, unwritten.
---This post is now over---