With ‘The Hindu Friday Review November Fest’ around the corner, a look at what feasts await Chennai music lovers.

Nov 15 - Tina Sani

Tina Sani sang before she started speaking. And, destiny took care of the rest — she made her debut, which became a runaway hit, on Pakistan Television in 1980. She learnt classical music from Ustad Nizamuddin Khan Sahib, son of Ustad Ramzan Khan of the Delhi Gharana, but music was never really a career plan.

She moved on and dabbled in many things, including teaching art, but the magical pull of music was too great to ignore. She started off with popular music before she got to give shape to her love for ghazals. Little surprise, for she lives in a land of ghazal singers such as Mehdi Hasan, Ghulam Ali and Farida Khanum. And then, she got to sing a Nazm (free verse) of Faiz Ahmad Faiz for composer Arshad Mehmud. The year was 1985, and Tina had found her niche.

She now sings verses of hope. Verses that lead her to speak up and to rise against injustice. Poetry with a cause.

Tina Sani

Abid Hussain - Tabla

Akhtar Hussain - Sarangi

Aslam - percussionist, dholak

Iqbal Hussain and Wazir Sultan - Harmonium

Nov 16 - An evening with Krishna: Shashank and Anwar Khan Manganiyar

Lord Krishna is recognised by and revered for his various facets — the innocently mischievous divine child, the flute-playing prince with his consort Radha (raasa leela), the destroyer of all evil and the preacher of virtues.

This thematic concert will explore every such nuance of Krishna by bringing together various musical styles and mediums. The flute is central to the concert, just as it is a characteristic depiction of Krishna himself. Every piece in the concert is a traditional song, selected from various parts of the country, to which each musician will lend his own interpretation, binding it together to form a special musical creation.

Shashank’s reposeful flute combines with the rustic and folksy flavour of traditional Rajasthani music by the full-blooded Manganiyars, known for their Krishna geet.

The Manganiyars are an exclusive community of musicians from Rajasthan, believed to be descendants of the Rajputs. Their musical tradition is unique in the fact that but for their distinct style, the music itself has no boundaries in its subject or content. They sing in praise of Hindu deities as much as they laud their own Islamic creator. Their style is characterised by booming, resonant voices that sing to the rhythm of the traditional dholak and their very own sarangi counterpart ‘Kamaicha’, a bowed instrument, with a small bowl at its base that releases long, sustained notes.

This concert is a celebration of the Lord, of culture and of course, of music.

Shashank Subramanyam - Flute

Anwar Khan Manganiyar - Rajasthani vocals

Feroz Khan Manganiyar - Dholak

Ghewar Khan Manganiyar - Kamaicha

Nov 17 - Magic of the reed: wHOOL

Korean contemporary

wHOOL means to ‘empty and renew the mind’, and that’s the kind of music they play too. wHOOL’s music is based on traditional Korean music. The distinctive wind instruments, the Piri and the Tae Pyung-so, and the resonant Buk and double-sided drums make its music unmistakably Korean, while the piano, guitar and the synthesiser give it a contemporary resonance that people anywhere in the world can relate to.

The band, formed with Yoon-Sang Choi as the central figure in 2003, creates music that traverses the borders of culture, generations, and eras. Some of the instruments they use are the super double-headed drum, the bass guitar, the piano, and the flute.

Apart from performances, wHOOL also scores music for TV serials and films.

This year, they’ve performed, among others, at the National Theater at Ulan Bator, and the Tropical Night Festival at Seoul.

Yoon-Sang Choi - Vocal/Buk(drum)

Jang-gu - Doubleheaded Drum

Hyun-Su Kim - Chorus/Bass guitar

Dong-il Park - Piano/Synthesiser

Si-Youl Kim - Piri (Flute)/Tae Pyung So

Nov 18 - Reliving the masters – Trio Image

Chamber music

Pavlin Nechev began to play the piano at the age of five. Gergana Gergova was introduced to the violin at the same age as well. Thomas Kaufmann made his acquaintance with the cello when he was 10. Years later, destiny brought them together when Pavlin formed the Trio Imàge, featuring Gergana, Thomas and himself, in 2007.

The members of the Trio Imàge have played together since then, and currently study with Prof. Eberhard Feltz at the Hanns Eisler Hochschule in Berlin. They have performed at festivals such as the Gidon Kremer’s Lockenhaus Chamber Music Festival, the Verbier Festival and the International Music Festival Varna Summer. They have also held concerts across Europe, and in South America.

At the concert, they will play some of the best chamber music composed by the maestros, Beethoven, Mozart and Brahms, with polished strength and intimate sensitivity. The trio has won many awards too, including the sixth International Competition Schubert, and the Music of Modern Times held in Graz. The trio has also been featured in the soundtrack of the film “Sasha” by Dennis Todorovic.

Gergana Gergova - Violin

Thomas Kaufmann - Cello

Pavlin Nechev - Piano

Nov 19 - Cousins in creativity: Colonial Cousins

Indian contemporary

Till the Colonial Cousins arrived on the music scene, we had listened only to the Carnatic version of ‘Krishna Nee Begane Baro’. They gave it not just a contemporary twist, but a meaningful one; linking beautifully Vyasatirtha’s traditional Kannada song to the ills of the modern world and fusing it with soulful English verses. Their version became an anthem for the young.

Hariharan, with his meticulous training in classical music, and Lesle Lewis with his rich experience as a composer and arranger, melded classical and other genres to come up with the distinct music of Colonial Cousins.

Together, they have recorded several albums, done shows worldwide and are now into film-music direction. Hariharan has also lent his melodious voice to songs composed by well-known music directors, including the Oscar-winning A.R. Rahman. With his perfect Urdu diction and a deep understanding of emotion-soaked Urdu poetry, he is one of the most prominent ghazal singers of the country. His partner in creativity, Lesle, changed the Indian pop music scene with the haunting ‘Pal’ (KK), the peppy ‘Jaanam Samjha Karo’ (Asha Bhosle) and the foot-tapping ‘Pari Hoon Mein’ (Suneeta Rao).

Hariharan

Lesle Lewis

Nov 20 - Sounds so different: EarthSync

Think unique musical collaborations and EarthSync is the label that comes to mind. Based in Chennai, with operations in Israel and the U.K., the label, with sounds so different, has released several albums that span a spectrum of cultures, known and unknown musicians, and traditional as well as contemporary music forms.

‘Business Class Refugees’ is EarthSync’s global, collaborative project by music producer Kartick (Patrick Sebag) and sound designer Gotam (Yotam Agam), who mix local music from around the world with electronic groove. ‘Business Class Refugees’ is a collaboration that features local musicians and a cross-cultural mixture of styles, languages and irresistible grooves.

Its genesis lies in a journey through Asia that Kartick and Gotam undertook from South India to a remote village in Aceh, recording indigenous music forms. They ended up spending three days at Singapore’s airport without passports, struggling between homesickness and worry. The music they made on their laptops is what you get to hear.

The team performs worldwide, taking their tracks around the world, and collaborating with local musicians to overlay EarthSync’s music with their artistic interpretation and signatures.

‘Business Class Refugees’ has been performed successfully over the past two years across India, Australia, Israel and the U.S. The captivating live show hosts on stage a range of live musicians and dancers from far corners of the world, backed by stunning, innovative visuals.

EarthSync has also produced two music documentaries that have received international awards. The EarthSync Festival of Traditional and Contemporary Music has had three editions by now. They have also performed in many national and international festivals.

Kartick & Gotam (Patrick Sebag & Yotam Agam) - Electronic artists

Eyal Mazig - Bass

Maya Resheff - Contemporary Dance

Erez Lev Ari - Guitar, Saz

Along with local guest artistes

Nov 21 - Ode to Rahul: Hindi Retro

Rahul Dev Burman… the very name conjures images of romance-soaked melodies, mood-lifting rollicking dance numbers, and everything else nice about music. He was a composer who astonished everyone with his versatility and passion for music.

In this tribute to the legendary musician, singer Karthik teams up with Bennet and the Band, featuring singers Mohammad Aslam, Gopal Rao, Shwetha Mohan and Kalyani Nair. They will be accompanied by the Chennai Strings section.

The concert will feature some of R.D. Burman’s finest, most popular and most soulful compositions. They will explore as much variety of his music as possible. So, expect to hear love ballads, rock and roll, jazz, Indian classical, and more.

The highlight of the evening is an all-acoustic backing that ensures the sound is as authentic as the original. And helping that cause will be instruments such as the acoustic guitar, ethnic percussions, drums, flutes, saxophone, cellos, violins and violas. With this, the band hopes to replicate the flavour, the magic and the feel of R.D. Burman’s music.

Karthik

Shwetha Mohan

Mohammad Aslam

Gopal Rao

Kalyani Nair

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