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An Ode to India

Posted on 23/09/2010 in The Hindu

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  • An Ode to India

    By Divya Kumar

    On October 2, Aruna Sairam and Shankar Mahadevan will take the stage together for the first time with ‘Mathrubhoomi', a unique offering that will span multiple Indian languages and musical genres, at Music Academy.

    When two powerhouse performers such as Shankar Mahadevan and Aruna Sairam come together for a concert, you know you can expect something special.

    On October 2, the two will take the stage together for the first time with ‘Mathrubhoomi', a unique offering that will span multiple Indian languages and musical genres, at Music Academy.

    “This is something completely new — it isn't your typicalkutcheri or light music concert, nor is it one of those Hindustani-meets-Carnaticjugalbandis,” says Shankar Mahadevan. “You're going to hear both of us singing stuff we've never sung before.”

    The thematic concert will be linked together by a single poem in praise of India, as the two artistes explore different regional musical styles and languages.

    “We all — the organisers, Shankar and I — felt wonderstruck by the diversity in our country,” says Aruna Sairam. “Our country blooms in so many colours, and we will try to represent that in our show.”

    The concert, organised by Lakshmi and Saraswathi of Event Art, has been in the making for nearly three years. “When they approached me about doing a show three years ago and asked me who I'd like to collaborate with, I said Shankar in a flash,” recalls Aruna. “I've always admired him — he's done so many different things; you name it, he's done it. And yet, he remains rooted in classical music. He's very centred as an artiste.”

    For Shankar, too, this was a collaboration he'd had at the back of his mind for years. “I knew what a rock star she is in the Carnatic field — her shows are always packed and that's because she connects with the hearts of her listeners,” he says. “I love to jam with people like that because that's the way I am too — I love my audience!”


    But, it wasn't easy getting these two busy artistes together for the show; even taking time out for rehearsals has been tough, with the two jetting back and forth between Chennai and Mumbai to practice together.

    “I need these rehearsals,” laughs Shankar. “Some of the pieces are very challenging. She's a master of that, of course, but I'm in all these various avatars, like a chameleon constantly changing colours, and I have to practice a lot!”

    Once the rehearsals happened, things quickly fell in place, and both agree that these sessions have been exhilarating. “What develops during rehearsals is the vibe, and if the vibe is correct, magic happens on stage,” he says.

    All of which bodes very well for the upcoming concert. “I've always explored music in multiple languages and styles, and he has too,” says Aruna. “Bring these two abilities together, and the concert will be that much richer for it.”

    Donor passes for the concert are available at Landmark (Nungambakkam and Citi Centre), Odyssey (Adyar) and Chamiers. Part of the proceeds from ticket sales go towards supporting an old age home. For details call: 98415-66652.


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