The rasikas enjoyed a rollercoaster ride as O.S. Arun rendered songs with more variety and imaginative style.
Tchaikovsky Music Club of the Russian Centre for Science and Culture (RCSC) in association with Sabhash organised “A Classical December” - a series of musical events, novel in their nature, which took place from December 15 to 19. These events were hosted at the RCSC Auditorium.
On Day three, O.S. Arun guided the audience through a musical-tour to experience ‘An Indian Musical Journey.’ This eponymous event was an All-Pradesh musical ensemble of compositions that captured the characteristic musical qualities enshrined in each one of the States of India. The point to note here is that Arun strived and succeeded to get into himself the unique diction that pertained to each one of these languages from the different States.
O.S. Arun is a musician who is distinct from the usual categories. That he had applied much thought was made evident as he began with ‘Vaakkundaam Nalla Manamundam’ and followed it up with ‘Prabho Ganapathe,’ a Sampradaya bhajan number. A song in Braj Bhasha, the language of Idayar community of Rajasthan, Haryana, U.P. occurred next. Andhra Pradesh was represented by a Bhadrachala Ramadasar composition ‘Garuda Gamana Raa Raa’ that came with a fitting persuasive tone at ‘Raa Raa,’ the act of beckoning. ‘Theruvil Vaaraano’ (Khamas) put in us a sense of expectancy - “Is the Lord coming on the street? Will he turn to give me a look?” The father of Carnatic Music, Purandaradasa, was honoured by the rendering of ‘Odi Barayya,’ in Kannada. A lilting melody based on Mishra Mand, a Bengali folk tune journeyed us to the Paschim and then we had a chance of listening to music from God’s Own Country, Kerala, (‘Manathilunaru,’ Purvikalyani/Saranga/Sriranjani… et al), which was on Goddess Saraswati. Arun then rendered an Abhang, representing Maharashtra after mentioning briefly about the many saints who had composed that free-verse.
Karaikal Venkatasubramaniam on the violin and Chandrasekhar on the harmonium served as admirable foils to Arun. The role of the Harmonium player in these types of “concerts” is to move and merge with the voice adding to its aesthetic dimension. The violinist/harmonist played remembering that they were the life-giving elements in this performance. M.S. Venkatasubramaniam on the mridangam and Ganapathi on the tabla (with Freddy on the timing) operated at their full capacity and their highs and lows, in terms of modulation of sound levels, with judicious gaps whenever warranted, added value to Arun’s performance.
Arun's efforts needs to be commended for its sheer range of variety, imaginative style, internalising patterns of music identified with each one of the states, its piercing emotional authenticity and its sensitive adherence to sruti by mere instinct. In the audience perspective this music was a thing of beauty which was a joy forever. Its loveliness kept increasing. (John Keats would excuse me for using his precious words differently.)