For many rasikas exchanging and listening to recordings of the masters of Carnatic music is a passion. And many of these pieces have been captured at chamber concerts, which were fashionable in the past.
A particular chamber concert that came to the mind was one in which Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer and M.S.Subbulakshmi sang a composition of Muthuswamy Dikshitar ‘Chethasri Balakrishnam’ in raga dwijavanti.
A team of musicians has come together to revive and recreate the concept of chamber concerts and bring Carnatic music to listeners who have an ear for music – without mikes. The ‘Oli Chamber Concerts’ team comprises - Gowri Ramnarayanan (writer and vocalist), Bharathi Ramasubban (vocalist), M.V.Swaroop (flautist) and Rithvik Raja (vocalist).
On Sunday evening, vocalist Sumitra Vasudev explored songs in which the composers had used words Manikkam Vairam in their songs. The venue, Rasvihar opposite Loyola College, was apt for a chamber concert with enough space for the small audience to be seated on mats and chairs. Even though there was no amplification, the pin drop silence allowed her voice to be carried to every nook and corner and even beyond.
Her song list included Hiranmayeem Lakshmeem sadhaa bhajaami of Dikshitar in raga lalitha, Maragatha mani varna of Saint Thyagaraja in raga Varali and Annai Janaki of Arunachala Kavirayar in raga Saveri. She was accompanied by M.Rajeev on the violin and K. V. Gopalakrishnan on the mridangam.
The Oli team has planned a total of 24 concerts for the year and every month would feature one senior and one up coming artist. “We do not use any kind of amplification. It is pure music. A mike is used only to make recordings of the concerts. By having smaller and serious audiences we can explore themes that cannot be explored in a sabha concert,” explains M.V.Swaroop
The team is looking for a venue for a nagaswaram concert by Vyasarpadi Kothandaraman next month. Those who are interested in attending the concerts can mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.