Jalsa celebrated the magic of swaras with flautist Hariprasad Chaurasia and vocalist Abhishek Raghuram

All fans of television music show Jalsa had a reason to cheer last weekend. The team came to town with the legendary flautist Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia and promising vocalist Abhishek Raghuram.

This is the seventh year of the show, conceived of by Durga Jasraj. She said they wanted to organise concerts in 12 cities to celebrate diverse music. Coimbatore was among the lucky 12. The event was organised by Durga’s Art & Artistes at the auditorium of Sri Krishna College of Engineering.

Abhishek, the grandson of mridangam virtuoso Palghat Raghu, unleashed a torrent of swaras before he rendered Needhaya Raadha in Vasantha Bhairavi and Bhajare. It was a feast for rasikas of traditional Carnatic music as his energetic voice washed over them. He was accompanied by B.U. Ganesh Prasad on the violin and Nevyeli Narayanan on the mridangam.

Soon, Pandit Chaurasia’s melodious notes on the flute had the audience in a thrall. He was accompanied by his disciple Debopriya and on the tabla by Subhankar Banerjee. He started off with the lilting Vaatapi Ganapathim in Hamsadhvani.

Later, he accepted audience requests, and played a bhajan and short pieces in Malhar and Desh. His flutes spoke notes that were melodic, sprightly and meditative.

More than an hour of playing did not dampen Chaurasia’s spirit for an audience interaction. “How do we identify the various gharanas?” someone asked. “Why should you? What do you get by knowing about gharanas? Just enjoy the music,” he said.

“When we clap midway, do we disturb your performance?” asked another. “Actually, there is little reason to clap, though many people have started doing it now. Appreciate music with your soul. That should do,” he said. And that’s what most people did — they took home the memory of two diverse genres of music, both rooted in tradition, but which managed to strike a chord with the present.