My experience of performing at Aikya Sanyoga, Coimbatore

I performed at a very interesting concert a couple of months ago – Aikya Sanyoga 2019. Aikya is an annual concert hosted by GA Foundation under the leadership of the bright young entrepreneur Ms Rohini Manian, CEO Global Adjustments and ably produced by Ms Kalpana Murthy, President GA. Incidentally, I had also performed the very first Aikya Concert back in 2010, which was a musical journey through India where I had sung songs in 12 Indian languages as well as a song in Italian.

This time round together we came up with an equally interesting theme – combining classical Carnatic music with film music, particularly Tamil film music, as that’s where the connection is the strongest.

I performed at the concert with the young, talented and very well-loved playback singer – Haricharan Seshadri. Haricharan sings Hindi and Tamil film songs of a wide range of genres. He is truly a multi-talented singer.

It took us a few meetings to find a direction. To start with, we had to consider what kind of orchestra would compliment us, how to make both the idioms shine forth individually and together, etc. But once we finalised on the core group members and we met for the first time at my home studio, we were on a roll!

The first song combination we thought of was Sadhinchane (the Pancharatna Kriti by Tyagaraja) and the famous Tamil film song Erikkaraiyin mele (both based on Arabhi Ragam). Once we put that together, there was no stopping us! Within about 2.5 hours of that we had chalked out the full set of songs for the concert – we, in fact, had more than we would have time for!

Our final song list stood at –

  1. Sri Vighna rajam – together
  2. Erikkaraiyin mele (Haricharan) & Saadhinchane (Aruna Sairam)-Arabhi.
  3. Karpagavalli nin (Haricharan) – Kamalamba (Aruna Sairam).Ananda Bhairavi.
  4. Anandamruthakarshini(Aruna Sairam) – Thoongada vizhigal (Haricharan) – Amrutavarshini.
  5. Maname kanamum kalangadhe (Haricharan)- Vrindavani venu (Aruna Sairam) – Bhimpalas. /Abheri.
  6. Maadu Meikkum (Aruna Sairam) – Maatukara vela (Haricharan)- Folk Melody
  7. Kalinga narthana Tillana – together

We played to our strengths! One of my strengths being Abhangs and one is Haricharan’s Retro Film songs. So we found songs to fit into those to make sure we could give our best. Harcharan was very keen on signing the Kalinga Narthana Thillana with me, so we performed it together and he sang with aplomb!

The surprise performance for the concert was Maadu Meikkum, which is incredibly popular among my rasikas and I’m never allowed to finish a concert without singing it. Haricharan came up with the idea to combine that with Maatukara vela, a song about a shepherd looking after his cows. They merged effortlessly.

It must be mentioned that the orchestra that accompanied us were brilliant. We had –
Shri Anantha Krishnan – Violin
Shri Ganapati Venkata Subramanian – Tabla
Shri Vijaya Gopal- Flute
Shri Abhinandan – Guitar
Shri Sumesh Narayan – Percussion
Shri Ravi G – Keyboard

These are very talented and energetic musicians and we had a fabulous time practising and performing together. They supported us very ably and lifted the program.

I would like to thank the organisers for bringing us together for a fun and unique experience. I think it would be accurate to say that Aikya rocked Coimbatore!

PS – A very important and commendable aspect of the event was that it was a fundraiser concert.
The funds generated from the sales of the donor passes of the concert went towards supporting ChampionWoman, an initiative by Global Adjustments Foundation that trains women in emotional, physical, and leadership skills empowering them to be balanced, confident, and productive in the workforce. I was very happy to be involved with such a great cause.

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