The fusion concert by Trichur brothers, Srikrishna Mohan and Ramkumar Mohan raised the curtains to the third edition of The Hindu Friday Review November Fest at Le Meridien hotel, where the launch party for the event was held. Srikrishna and Ramkumar and their group Anubhuthi, comprising Trichur R. Mohan (Mridangam), Navneeth Sundar (keyboard), Vedanth Bharadwaj (acoustic guitar), Aalaap Raju (bass guitarist) and Soundar Rajan (drums), filled the venue with some special music.

Five minutes into their first piece that they describes as the Carnatic ‘Breathless’, set in Kalyani, Hindolam, Malayamarutham and Hamsanadam, the audience were already tapping their feet. The guitars and piano combined with the resonating beats of the mridangam, and drums, set the concert going.

The shift from the classical notes to the folk strains of ‘Kuttanadan punchayile’ was a lovely surprise.

The boat song, started slowly and picked up pace almost transporting the audience into the backwaters of Kerala during Onam.

The evergreen ‘Harivarasanam’ (who has not heard the K.J Yesudas version?) lulled the listeners. It was meant to be the final piece, but every one wanted more of Anubhuti and so a shower of swaras set in Sankarabharanam, was delivered with a playful touch, by the end of which the brothers stepped out of the stage and gestured to the audience to hum along with them.

Birth of the band

After 20 years of classical music, Srikrishna says fusion happened three years ago. “We were singing an Abhang with our friend Vedanth Bharadwaj, who happened to play the guitar. We thought it sounded divine. So we tried out more such pieces.” And Anubhuti was born.

The band wants to blend classical with world music, without compromising on the tenets of Carnatic music.

As Ramkumar said, “We don’t believe in breaking the rules for the sake of creating something new. We try to incorporate global music into the framework of Carnatic music.

He also added, “The success of the band is because none of us has an exalted ego. Everyone’s suggestion is counted.” Navneeth Sundar, the keyboard player, who also composes film music said, “Each of our roles is clearly defined. We get to play the instruments the way we want to.”

Vedanth Bharadwaj, a student of Neyveli Santhanagopalan said that the fusion of percussion and melody will throw up new possibilities in music. He added that performing with the brothers is a fantastic experience. “They are so talented that at times I am in sheer awe of them.”

Performing with the veteran mridangam artist, Trichur R. Mohan, the father of the two brothers, has been a learning experience for the band. Bass guitarist Aalaap Raju and drummer Soundar Rajan, said that it was a pleasure to perform with a legend like him.

The band fondly remembers their performance at The Hindu Friday Review November fest last year. Trichur R. Mohan, said, “We were asked a couple of hours before the show, to fill in for the postponed ‘Lahori Blues' concert by the Pakistani duo Zeb and Haniya. We did not even have proper time to practise. However, in the end, we pulled off a good performance.”