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Soaring songs

GOWRI RAMNARAYAN
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Music Aruna Sairam and her team will perform rousing Abhangs as part of the The Hindu Friday Review Music Fest

Spirited recital Aruna Sairam Photo: NAGARA GOPal
Spirited recital Aruna Sairam Photo: NAGARA GOPal

C harismatic Carnatic vocalist Aruna Sairam is known for her full throated personalised style.

She is well known outside India with performances at venues such as Carnegie Hall, New York, Theatre de la Ville, Paris, and the Festival of Sacred Music, Morocco.

The hardcore training she had, first from her own mother, later from eminent gurus with entirely different styles - T. Brinda and T.R. Subramaniam - has enabled her to hold her own in duets with experts in Gregorian chant, Egyptian or flamenco music. Aruna Sairam has always enjoyed singing a vibrant abhang or two in her Carnatic music concerts.

But it was at The Hindu Friday Review Music Festival 2006 that she first offered an exclusive recital of these Marathi devotional songs.

Abhang singing demands a multi-level grasp of techniques. Ragas don't change definitively, they fade into one another.

The rhythms are dynamic and dramatic. Each word of the song carries implied meanings.

Knowledge of the life story of the saint composer evokes deeper feeling. Exposure to arrangement of styles is essential to develop one's own approach. A strong voice with a resonant timbre is a must.

Singular genre

Obviously Aruna Sairam has all these attributes. How else could she have become famous as a singer of abhangs, even in Maharashtra, the home of this singular genre? And, a wider circle of lay listeners across the country recognise and appreciate this senior Carnatic vocalist for her abhang singing.

Her “full bench” recitals at The Hindu November Festival 2010 at Bangalore will feature accompanists from the south and the north.

They are: Raghavendra Rao (violin), J Vaidyanathan (mridangam), S.Karthick (ghatam), Niranjan Lele (harmonium), Sai Bankar (tabla) Prakash Shejwal (pakhawaj), Pratap Rath (additional percussion).

Aruna Sairam will perform as part of the Friday Review November Fest on November 28 at 7.15 p.m.

GOWRI RAMNARAYAN

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