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Royal attention

V.BALASUBRAMANIAN
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TOUR Queen Sofia was impressed with the group.

Memorable: P. Unnikrishnan with Queen Sofia.
Memorable: P. Unnikrishnan with Queen Sofia.

C arnatic vocalist P. Unnikrishnan has just returned from Spain after participating in the Festival of India.

“It was an experience of a kind singing in Madrid at the four-day festival in which a percussion ensemble, dance, Hindustani music and my Carnatic concert were held,” says Unni. “The venue National Auditorium of Music Madrid is one of its kind built especially for mikeless performances. The architecture is something splendid ensuring the music is heard with the same intensity irrespective of your position in the hall whose seating capacity is 700.

“The National Auditorium of Music, Madrid, in collaboration with the Indian Embassy , Spain and ICCR, New Delhi, had sponsored all the programmes that was produced by Creative Productions, Spain.” Unni's eyes shine in recollection as he talks of his first ever Carnatic music concert to be held in that famed auditorium.”

The mikeless concert experience? “Seldom do we get such opportunities. We did not to have to worry about sound check. It was all a kind of plug and play,” says Unni.

Indian connection

The concert did please the house full crowd of which at least 95 per cent were Spanish. The distinguished guest of the evening was Queen Sofia of Spain. At her suggestion, a break was given as she was eager to talk to all of us on stage. She was thrilled to note that the ghatam out of which Karthick wove myriad patterns was just made of clay. The Queen has a special attachment to India and Chennai in particular as her mother had lived here for several years. As a frequent visitor with her mother to Kanchipuram and Mamallapuram during her visits to India, she eagerly enquired about the places and their development.

Having chosen Keeravani as the main for that concert, Unni was happy at the response. The audience was quick to identify it with their Western scale and sat through the entire concert. “The clapping of hands at the end of each song and the standing ovation that went on for about five minutes at the end of the concert is something that will remain etched in all of our memories for years. They enjoyed the Tani too a lot.”

The crowd was in for a big surprise when Unnikrishnan welcomed the Queen and the audience in chaste Spanish before the concert. Unni had also performed at Valledolid.

V.BALASUBRAMANIAN


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