Friday Review » Music

Updated: May 28, 2010 17:21 IST

A spiritual trip

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Aruna Sairam in performance. Photo: R. Shivaji Rao
The Hindu
Aruna Sairam in performance. Photo: R. Shivaji Rao

Aruna Sairam carries enough firepower in her concert repertoire to please each one in the audience.

Eminent Carnatic vocalist Aruna Sairam was recently in New Delhi to take part in an ITC group event. On the sidelines of the event, Aruna, who began her music training from her mother Carnatic vocalist Rajalakshmi Sethuraman and later from Guru T. Brinda, shared her views about concerts and music. At every concert she performs, Aruna vies to please each section of the audience. Probably, that's what makes her a hit at concerts. “I choose songs in such a way that I am able to satisfy each and every rasika in the audience. The audience come with varied expectations to a concert. Some prefer heavy raga alapanas, some enjoy bhajan, and others like light devotional,” she says. When performing abroad or even in the metros, Aruna says, music in itself creates an instant bonding with the audience.

On the dynamics of a concert, Aruna says, “In my opinion, the singer has the responsibility of satisfying the audience to the best of her ability. The very experience of divinity is the speciality of our Carnatic music and taking the audience to the zone of spiritual ecstasy in itself is a wonderful experience. When the soul is touched by music, there is a sense of oneness in the auditorium. From start to end, vibration rules the air, and the descending is done slowly with bhajans and lighter songs to help everyone unwind.”

Among Aruna's strengths is her ability to sing in many regional languages.

She, however, is not among those who believe Carnatic music doesn't hold youngsters' interest. “In recent times, we see lots of youngsters coming for concerts, here as well as abroad. It is a good sign that youngsters are taking interest in music. In India, music is learnt as a hobby and it becomes a profession only after it starts paying. To become an acceptable performer one has to really put in lots of hard work. Hence attention and care should be on skill development, concert after concert, and practical experience takes performers to a higher level,” says Aruna.

Aruna is also in favour of finding a balance when it comes to innovation.

She is also not one for fusion. “Each kind of music should be enjoyed in its form. We have developed a taste for western music and other art forms. It is our responsibility to take our music in its original form to the world forums. In all my concerts, westerners come in large numbers and show a lot of interest and appreciate our music.”

Aruna has already performed at the prestigious Theatre de La Ville in Paris, Carnegie Hall in New York, the Rashtrapati Bhawan in New Delhi and the Festival of World Music in Morocco. With her strong roots in traditional Carnatic music, she has brought in richness and colour through her collaborations with artists like Dominique Vellard, Christian Bollmann and Michael Reimann.

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