MUSIC The first edition of The Hindu Friday Review November Fest begins in Coimbatore on November 25 GOWRI RAMNARYAN AND DEEPA GANESH

T here's good news for connoisseurs of music. The Hindu Friday Review Music Festival comes to Coimbatore. The festival brings an eclectic range — Hindustani to fusion to spiritual and much more.

The five-day music festival, from November 25 to 28, packs in a lot of excitement. This is the first edition of the Fest in the city. Launched in Chennai in 2005, this unique musical extravaganza has become an important event in the city's cultural calendar, showcasing some of the finest musicians from India and abroad. And, we hope to do the same in our city too.

The Coimbatore Fest opens with renowned Carnatic vocalist Aruna Sairam performing a concert of abhangs. Her ‘The Wisdom of Vitthala' will feature the verses of saint poets like Tukaram, Gnandev and Janabai. She will be accompanied by a group of specially selected musicians from Maharashtra and Chennai. The first time she performed a full-fledged abhang concert was for the 2006 November Fest in Chennai.


If bhajans focus on the inward journey, abhangs are more exuberant expressions of the community experience. “I'm drawn to abhangs because they are sung by pilgrims on their journey to the temples on foot. They dance, carry dolis, play the dholak and cymbals, and everyone joins in the chorus. This procession makes an undulating visual. I feel its pulsating rhythms and ecstasy when I sing abhangs," says Aruna Sairam. Her own visit to Pandharpur as a young girl has remained with her. That memory is at the core of her love for the genre.

When fine lyricists meet great musicians what can you expect? Immortal melodies. The charm of Hindi film music has always held sway over the Indian audiences. Srinivas, Chinmayi, Haricharan and Swetha take you back to the era of great tunes in the Hindi Retro concert (Nov 26). Srinivas swears by K.L. Saigal while the others move on to foot-tapping songs of Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhonsle, Kishore Kumar and Mohammed Rafi. From S.D. Burman, Madan Mohan, Naushad, Salil Chowdury to R.D. Burman and more, they will bring them all together for you that evening with a 15-member orchestra hand-picked from Chennai and Kerala. Savour golden oldies such as “O Sajna”, “Tere Mere Sapne”, “Deewana Hua Badal” and “Tere Mere Milan Ki Ye Raina” , and many, many more.

There is some more excitement. This time with fusion What would a Carnatic musician say to a jazz artiste? Find out at an entertaining sessionin which Sudha Raghconverses musically with Amit Heri (Nov 27). They have collaborated once before for Mahesh Dattani's film “Morning Raga”. But, this is the real live deal. “During our joint concerts, people enjoy the new sounds embedded on a traditional base,” says Sudha. Amit refers to Sudha as an “interesting challenge”.

Highly individualistic and motivated, the two artistes will make music that is a combination of jazz, funk and traditional kritis.

And, on the final day is a spectacular concert by none other than the hugely popular group of the 60s and the 70s – Osibisa.

The world-acclaimed British Afro-rock band Osibisa will play their old hits and their extraordinary musical innovations. Not for nothing are they called the pioneers of world music. Their music continues to be dynamic, pulsating and indigenous.

Gear up for the rush of music. The four-day festival promises a never-before experience. There is something there for every one. Be there at the R.S. Puram Kalaiarangam for the November Fest.