Pianist Anil Srinivasan performed at Sandhya Raaga, a fundraiser concert organised by the National Association for the Blind, on Sunday
There was an all-black setting, no lights, the faint flicker of candles and pianist Anil Srinivasan’s haunting music swallowing the silence and darkness of the room at Hotel Savera, filling it with ‘colour’.
At Sandhya Raaga, a fundraiser concert organised by the National Association for the Blind on Sunday to experience music without the trappings of visuals, Mr. Srinivasan chose ‘colours of the universe’ as the theme for the evening.
The concert began with just candle lights, and Mr. Srinivasan on his piano interspersing Polish composer Frédéric François Chopin’s composition with ‘Katrinile Varum Geetham’. As the rendition tapered, he then wore a blindfold in the dimly-lit room, and played a medley of audience requests which he got to see just a few minutes before the concert began.
The requests ranged from Moonlight Sonata to Alaipayuthey Kanna, and the concert encompassed everything from western classical to Carnatic music to classic Ilayaraja numbers.
“I could really see nothing,” confessed Mr. Srinivasan in jest, just before moving on to the next segment. As the lights dimmed, Mr. Srinivasan played in harmony with stunning visuals from documentaries ‘Baraka’ and ‘Samsara’.
The visuals travelled from ice-capped mountains to furious volcanoes and from calm lakes to mega cities. It was in the final leg that there was complete darkness and the music was meditative, all-encompassing and without pause. The concert drew to a close with renditions of ‘Vaishnava Jana to’ and ‘Vande Mataram’.
The programme, said, Shylaja Chetlur, who conceptualised the event, used varying levels of light and gradually moved to darkness to emphasise that there are different degrees of visual impairment.
“When music is at its most profound, its deepest, even those with vision tend to close their eyes,” observed Mr. Srinivasan.
Nina Reddy, president of the Association said that the blind did not need sympathy, but companionship.
The Association collected close to Rs. 15 lakh from ticket sales and donations for the cause. P. Chandrasekar, secretary of the Association said that the funds collected would aid their initiatives such as the early intervention centre for children up to the age of five and their vocational school in Madhavaram among others.