Fusion concert The Elements offered Carnatic music with a generous serving of Western elements

For a show that started half-an-hour late on a Saturday, the rest of the evening was worth staying for. A fusion music concert held by LK Charitable Trust saw The Elements performing in front of a packed house in Vani Mahal. The group consisted of Haricharan Seshadri on vocals, B.S. Purushotham on the kanjira, S. Muralikrishnan on percussions, Navneeth Sundar on the keyboard and Naveen Kumar on bass. They were later joined by Mandolin U. Rajesh.

The concert, keeping true to Carnatic sensibilities, started off with a prayer (Gnana Vinayakane in Gambeera Nattai) to Lord Ganesha. Haricharan’s voice stood out through the evening. After the first song, Muralikrishnan introduced Rajesh to a delighted audience and the group went on to perform a medley from his album Into the Light; it was ably supported by the others. The bass guitarist Naveen was not quite audible, perhaps due to the many instruments that drowned him. 

Several other compositions followed, including one called ‘Fireflies’, which was fast-paced with Middle Eastern influences. Haricharan and Rajesh continued to evoke merriment in the audience who clicked photographs and kept thalam to the keerthanais. Muralikrishnan, on many occasions, played his instruments standing up. Purushotham’s 10-minute tani avarthanam was received well by the audience. 

Towards the end, Haricharan rattled off swarams while Rajesh augmented them as the others followed suit. The evening was more Carnatic than fusion, although Navneeth’s playing did add a Western element. Rajesh, undoubtedly, was the star performer of the evening. Before the last song, Purushotham and Muralikrishnan engaged in what can be described as a ‘drum-off’, which later transformed into a rather long percussion solo by the latter.

The evening concluded with Haricharan’s short rendition of Enna thavam seidhanai fused with Raghupathi Raghava Raja Ram, which evoked thunderous applause from the audience. 

Muralikrishnan also runs Jus Drums, a school of percussion, since 2003. The school conducts summer camps, apart from regular classes, and has trained more than 550 students. Their 12th annual school concert took place on Sunday. Renowned thavil exponent A. K. Palanivel and playback singer Vani Jairam presided over the event, which saw a performance by 40 students who graduate this year.