There were djun djuns and the double violin, flute and the ghatam, mridangam and the bass.
Together, these diverse instruments — more than eight of them — and a vocalist showed, not only how such versatile instruments can have an engaging conversation, but also create spellbinding music for close to three hours.
Saturday’s ‘Jus Fusion’ concert’s first ensemble performance ‘Welcome home’ opened like dawn, slow, meditative, and hopeful, before building up tempo and setting the mood for the rest of the concert. This was followed by ‘Mookambika’ in the raga ‘Jog’.
And then came, ‘Chennai rain’ recreating, inside the auditorium, the sound of rain on the city roads. The resonant piece captured multiple emotions and uncertainty associated with rain. These pieces, said, percussionist Murali Krishnan of Jus Drums, had been composed by him exclusively for the evening. “In Chennai, when it rains, it pours. The rains are so unpredictable. I have tried to reflect this in the piece,” he said.
Mridangam maestro Umayalpuram K. Sivaraman’s performance was perhaps the most anticipated. He kept the audience engrossed with his solo performance in Thisra Jaathi Ekathalam. “I wish to tell you that art is ageless. Few years back one of my sishyas was 66 when he came to me, and 72 when he did his arangetram,” he interjected, before doing a spontaneous collaboration with his student Murali in Adi thalam.
The lights then went off, and celebrated percussionist Pete Lockett owned the stage with instruments such as djembe, khanjira, doumbek and floortom among others. He also performed an Arabic-African mix which he said is “going to replace hip-hop”. Pete and Murali then burst out into a perfectly-synced collaboration on a cajon. Umayalpuram K. Sivaraman also collaborated with all the artistes for the piece ‘Out in the wild’, which had influences of folk music.
The lively ‘Lotus Colony’, in which Murali had put together all the sounds he grew up listening to in the colony, and ‘Walking in the dream’ were the other pieces performed at the show.
The concert presented by L.K. Foundation featured Neyveli S. Radhakrishna on the double violin, K.V. Ramanujam on the flute, E.M. Subramaniam on the ghatam, Madurai B. Sundar on the mridangam, A.R. Anand on the guitar, Keith Peters on the bass, Varun Ramakrishnan on the keyboard, Vinaya on the vocals and Murali Krishnan on the drums and percussion.