The fifth edition of The Hindu Friday Review November Fest was launched to the sound of soulful devotional music — from a bhajan and an abhang to the Thevaram and the evergreen ‘Krishna Nee Begane’ — and a lyrical speech in Urdu by the legendary Pakistani singer Abida Parveen that had the crowd going ‘Wah, wah!’

The Ballroom at Taj Coromandel was packed with musicians and music lovers in the city who turned out to listen to the concert by the talented sisters Ranjani and Gayatri, and to celebrate the launch of the six-concert festival, which is on till November 22.

The evening began with the lighting of the kuthuvilakku by Carnatic exponent T.M. Krishna and musicians Anoorada Sriram and Sriram Parasuram. Conversation flowed late into the night over a sumptuous spread of North-West Frontier cuisine.