If it’s Margazhi in Chennai, it has to be music. The city is a steady witness to the growing number of people who follow their favourite Carnatic vocalists from sabha to sabha.
Sivapriya Krishnan, Strategy Planning Director with RK Swamy BBDO and a vocalist (she trained under Sangita Kalanidhi R. Vedavalli), explains why she makes the most of vocal maestro T.N. Seshagopalan’s concerts. “It’s very simple, I have heard him since I was young and he brings in so much mastery and skill. His constant search for improvisation and endless creativity boggles the mind,” she says.
Sivapriya makes it a point to attend many of his concerts in most of the sabhas in Chennai during the season. She adds that the Gokulashtami special concerts at Sri Krishna Gana Sabha were some of his outstandingly brilliant ones
Many youngsters in the city are equally enthusiastic about attending concerts of their favourite artiste, while a few follow their favourite artiste to other cities as well.
An HR Manager in Hewlett Packard, Santhosh Mala started very young at the age of eight, and used to attend concerts that took place in temples without having any knowledge of the artistes. “But I would get into a trance when I heard the music and I was drawn by it,” she said.
The Margazhi season seven years ago was when Mala got hooked. “After I was done with work, I was trying to attend a concert and to my luck got tickets to Bombay Jayashri at The Music Academy. Towards the end, she sang “Kanne enn kanmaniyae kannane kann valarai” and I had tears streaming down my face. Since that day, I have attended every single concert of hers,” she said.
Sai Sundhar, a marketing analyst and IT product consultant has been attending concerts since he was 10 years old. “There weren't many concerts near my house in Chromepet, but it was something I still looked forward to each year,” he said. A part-time Carnatic vocalist, he would never miss either Bombay Jayashri or S. Sowmya's concerts. “During my college years, I lived in a hostel in Tanjavur so I would travel to Trichy and Chennai for their concerts. Lately, I plan my holiday trips and official trips around their concert schedules,” he said.
For Surasika Parthasarathy, a 21-year-old student of law who attended her first kutcheri when she was only about four years old, inculcation into Carnatic music happened through her mother Subhashini Parathasarathy’s concerts. “In the December season, I would attend most of T.M. Krishna’s concerts,” she said adding that being a student gives her the freedom to attend concerts at most times of the day. Besides T.M. Krishna, Surasika also likes listening to some of the younger performers.
Apart from regulars, first time December music season attendee (in Chennai) Nikhil Jois is quite excited to be catching his favourite singer, Sanjay Subrahmanyan, live. “I have attended his concerts in Bangalore whenever I could and I also collect CDs and DVDs of all my favourite singers,” he said. Nikhil, a 23-year-old academic author and content editor from Bangalore, is set to attend plenty of concerts this season.
Sivapriya concludes, “Be it thematic concerts such as an exposition of Arunachala Kavirayar, or a Harikatha rendition or playing the veena, T.N. Seshagopalan's genius and knowledge are of a high order. There is just so much to learn for a student of music.”