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Exhilarating experiment

Renuka Suryanarayan
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THEMATIC Jayashri and her band blended various musical styles seamlessly. Renuka Suryanarayan

It was an entertaining fare all the way. Bombay Jayashri’s thematic programme ‘Listening to Life,’ at the Mutha Venkata Subba Rao Hall on Saturday brought together various genres of music -- Carnatic, Hindustani, folk, film, abhang and ghazal.

A challenge for such productions is seamless progression. Jayashri’s smart choice of pieces embracing various ragas close to a theme raga, Natabhairavi, vastly nudged that confluence.

The manner in which she melodically helped shape a dialogue between Carnatic and Hindustani music, a Lata Mangeshkar hit and a Mehdi Hassan Urdu ghazal, while mingling films hits of Ilaiyaraja and others revealed the tremendous passion and relentless effort of Jayashri and her band.

Overall, it was an exciting experiment. Another important factor is the venue where you present such shows. The audience that day loved every moment.

Her band comprised Embar Kannan (violin), Sai Shravan (tabla), Naveen Iyer (flute), Navneet Sunder (piano), J. Vaidhyanathan (mridangam), Abhinaya Ramesh, Chithra Poornima Sathish, Keerthana Vaidhyanathan, Pavithra Ramesh and Swetha Ramesh (vocals). Their enthusiastic rapport elevated the performance.

Kannan, Navneet and Naveen entranced, playing interludes that flowed like a river melding the various styles. The group vocalists provided mellifluous scores even as Sai Shravan and Vaidhyanathan added excellent support.

Beginning with the Natabhairavi alapana, Jayashri touched a chord with the Papanasam Sivan kriti, ‘Sri Valli.’ Next came raga Adana (not to be confused with Atana); it’s a late night raga similar to Darbari. The earth was awakened by a payal in ‘Jhanak Jhanak Payal Bhaje.’

Jayashri next depicted love in Bharatiar’s ‘Maalai Pozhudinile,’ before singing the tranquil Lata Mangeshkar classic, ‘Aap Ki Nazaron Ne.’ The mood changed with Tyagaraja’s ‘Samajavaragama’ (Hindolam).

After Namdev’s Abhang ‘Bhakta Janavatsale’ (Brindavani), she sang Tyagaraja’s ‘Mokshamugalada’ with some scintillating Saramati raga interludes by pianist Navneet.

A bhajan in Gurjari Thodi followed before Jayashri presented ‘Sri Sathyanarayanam’ by Dikshitar in Subhapanthuvarali.

Jayashri then presented Mehdi Hassan’s ghazal ‘Ranjish Hi Sahi.’ The spellbinding finish came with a Vyasaraya pada and Lalgudi Jayaraman’s thillana in Sindubhairavi.

Such experiments are welcome, especially if they attract audiences who disapprove of Carnatic concerts for their heavy bhakti content. Sankalp, a school for children with special needs, presented the programme.


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