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Aruna Sairam and Sudha Ragunathan: a confluence of styles

Posted on 31/03/2017 in The Hindu

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  • Aruna Sairam and Sudha Ragunathan: a confluence of styles

    Aruna Sairam and Sudha Ragunathan showcased India’s musical diversity at Aikya

    Aikya comes up with a fresh concept every year and tries to communicate it through music. Aikya 2017 celebrated 70 years of Indian Independence by bringing together two exponents of Carnatic music — Aruna Sairam and Sudha Raghunathan — for the first time. The music arrangement was by mridangam artiste K. Arun Prakash.

    The tastefully done up stage stage décor had the Ashoka Chakra on the one side and the National flag on the other. At the centrewas an inverted tree, a metaphoric depiction of a hymn from the Bhagavad Gita .

    The concert, featuring multilingual songs, was presented in three segments: the first on Creativity, the second on Nurturing and the third on Transformation.

    Bharati’s ‘Thee Valarthiduvom’ (Sudha Ragunathan), Narasinh Mehta’s ‘Vaishnava Janato’ (Aruna Sairam) and the popular ‘Vadavarayai Maththakki’ from Silappathigaram (Sudha) formed the first segment.

    The second section had Tyagaraja’s ‘Vandanamu’ in Sahana and ‘Kaanthamam Kathirkaamam’ of Mayuram Viswanatha Sastri in Sindubhairavi (Aruna) and ‘Entha Punya’ of Purandaradasa (Sudha) in Madhuvanti.

    The final segment highlighted the bhakti movement through a medley of Marathi abhangs by Aruna, ‘Vande Mataram’, and another Bengali song, ‘Dhone Dhanye’, by Sudha. The finale came with Kavi Pradeep’s ‘Aye Mere Watan Ke Logon.’

    Imaginative approach

    It was refreshing to see a full-fledged 21-member live orchestra, including a chorus, sharing the stage with the main singers. There were melodic interludes from five violins, a flute, pleasing phrases from the sitar and the veena, apart from the energetic beats of mridangam and tabla. The main singers’ creativity had scope for free expression in certain places such as Sudha’s swaraprastara in the Purandaradasa kriti and the inimitable mix of abhangs by Aruna.

    The participation of the children from the Padma Seshadri Group of schools, at the start and end, was endearing.

    The distinct styles of Aruna and Sudha proved to be appealing and were maintained to merge only at significant sections. Kudos to Arun Prakash’s insight and for providing a fair chance to all instrumentalists.

    Integrating a message, different musical forms, and genres is no easy task. AIKYA (presented by Global Adjustments with The Hindu as media partner) and the artistes under the baton of Arun Prakash pulled it off.


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