With The Hindu’s Rocking Tamizha concert, Chennaites danced their way to the Tamil New Year

There was a buzz amidst the audience as the group members walked onto the stage holding their thappu (a percussion instrument) with salangai clinking at their feet. It was Rocking Tamizha, a concert organised by The Hindu on the eve of Tamil New Year. And, with electrifying beats from the instruments and Velmurugan’s ode to Tamil musicians, the men from the troupe showed why Tamilians rocked. The concert was a tribute to fast-paced songs of Tamil cinema from the 1940s to the present. It was a different attempt, devoid of the usual melodies, and the singers pulled it offwell. Playback singers Ranjith, Rahul Nambiar, Velmurugan, Shweta Mohan and Andrea Jeremiah presented songs that just did not let the listener sit still.

The peppy ‘Machaana Paathingalaa’, Ilaiyaraaja’s seductive ‘Aasaya Kaathula Thoodhu Vittu’, the yesteryear ‘Kannale Pesi Pesi Kolladhe’… the singers had handpicked some of the best songs that rocked Tamil cinema. The soul of the party was innovation — who would have thought adding western rhythms to the folk-based ‘Machaana Paathingalaa’ could be so well-received? Or that a song from the 1960s could wow the audience when rendered with touches of jazz?

Shweta and Rahul breathed new life into ‘Avalukenna Azhagiya Mugam’ with their young voices. Then there was Velmurugan’s version of ‘Nila Adhu Vaanathu Mele’ in his rustic voice. Ranjith sang a different kind of song that rocked — his rendition of ‘Aadal Kalaye Devan Thandhadhu’, a Yesudas wonder, was a surprise element. Rahul added to it with the evergreen ‘Senthamizh Then Mozhiyaal’.

Shweta, Ranjith and Velmurugan also treated the audience to a medley of their own songs. If Shweta and Ranjith melted hearts with ‘Nee Paartha Vizhigal’, and ‘Sollitaale’, Velmurugan made many tap their feet for renditions of super-hit numbers. The evening gathered pace towards the end as the singers belted out more Ilaiyaraaja numbers. ‘Idhu Oru Nila Kaalam’, ‘Potu Vaitha Kaadal Thittam’… this Tamil New Year indeed kicked off on a rocking note.