The Friday Review November Fest is back with its characteristic multi-genre feast and artistes from across the world.

Three octaves, seven swaras, nine rasas, thousands of ragas and talas… music is not just about emotion, healing and communication, it is also about numbers. So is the Friday Review November Fest. Spread across five cities (Coimbatore, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Kochi) and 17 concerts, it raises the bar for musical experiments, pushes the borders for free-flowing exchange and is a meeting place of cultures and sound traditions.At the third edition of the fest in Coimbatore, classical jostles with jazz, ragas find new resonances while tuneful film songs take you back in time, truly symbolising the diversity and dynamism the fest stands for.

The three-day festival opens with a jugalbandi between childhood friends Carnatic vocalist Bombay Jayashri and flautist Pandit Ronu Majumdar. What began several years ago as a fun swara-raga jam session developed into a full-fledged and stimulating concert.Hers is a voice that has enormous range and style, perfectly controlled and wonderfully malleable. Bombay Jayashri’s early training in both Carnatic and Hindustani music laid the foundation for an exploratory musical journey. And not just classical, with her open-minded approach, she picked up the nuances of many semi-classicalforms including film music. With her eagerness to understand and assimilate, the well-known vocalist’s collaborative outings across the world have been a treat to the listeners.

Soul-elevating flute

Soft spoken and sprightly, Pandit Ronu Majumdar has the innate qualities to play the humble but soul-elevating flute, an instrument symbolic of Lord Krishna. The varanasi-born artist after being initially trained by his father was groomed by Pandit Laxman Prasad Jaipurwale and Pandit Vijay Raghav Rao into a successful performer.The strong bonding with bansuri and its honey-soaked notes led Pandit Ronu Majumdar to come up with the ‘shank bansuri’, a three-foot long flute that perks up the swaras in the lower scale. Like Jayashri, he loves to enrich his classical repertoire with fresh compositions and new approach to tradition. And what is a fest without good old film songs?

Day two is about romancing the retro or rather remembering the king of romance. Singer-of-several-chartbusters Srinivas teams up with a vibrant young team that includes the talented Haricharan and Mahalakshmi Iyer and the promising Saptaparna Chakraborty (STAR Voice of India 2 finalist) to relive the Rajesh Khanna era through his immortal songs.

The high recall value of Rajesh’s movies and characters are because of those brilliant Kishore Kumar songs that he lip-synched on the screen. Tender, intense, crazy, peppy… Rajesh’s cinematic oeuvre was made up of all kinds of songs.

The concert will showcase gems such as ‘Kora kagaz tha yeh man mera’, ‘Roop tera mastaana’, ‘O mere dil ke chaine’, ‘Chingaari’, ‘Kuch toh log kahenge’ and ‘Zindagi ka safar’. ‘Remembering Rajesh’ will give the lovers of Hindi film music another opportunity to hear some of the best songs of Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle, whose voices transcend time and space and continue to rule our hearts and minds.

Convergence of genres marks the final day of the fest as mridangam maestro Karaikudi Mani’s Sruthi Laya Ensemble joins hands with Australian Art Orchestra to create a ripple in the rhythm world.

The concert ‘Two Oceans’ will prove that collaborations are not convenient deals to be different but a sustained exercise in creativity to build richer textures through striking commonalities and contrasts.

Though it’s half as easy as it sounds to merge the music traditions of the East and the West, in the global village that the world has grown into, a common path leading to both and linking them is more than welcome.