Gearing up for a different stage

Harish Sivaramakrishnan   | Photo Credit: Aswin V.N.

For a man who is used to roaring crowds and twang of electric guitars, Harish Sivaramakrishnan, lead singer and frontman of Carnatic progressive-rock band Agam, is cool about his upcoming Carnatic kutcheri at Sree Poornathrayeesa Sangeetha Sabha, Tripunithura, Kochi. “I do three or four of these every year. They are usually low-key affairs. After all, Carnatic music is the only music I know well enough to perform,” says Harish.

Harish also happens to be head of mobile transformation at Google India. So, is it a tight schedule that is stopping him from giving more concerts? “Not really. I do have time. It is just that not many people call me for classical concerts. So I was sort of surprised when I got a call from Tripunithura and it is an honour to perform at such a prestigious venue,” he says.

Born and brought up at Shoranur in Palakkad district, Harish began his training in Carnatic music with Chembai Kodandarama Bhagavathar and then took lessons from Ayamkudi Mani. It was his strong training in Carnatic music that led to the formation of Agam with his BITS-Pilani college mates.

With Agam concerts all the year around in different places in India, rocking the stage is what he is used to. But does he find the occasional shift to smaller and quieter kutcheri venues difficult to tune in to? “Not at all. I don’t find any difference between singing for Agam and a traditional kutcheri. But what bugs me is the strict template that is followed at these traditional stages. I don’t stick to that and I plan my kutcheris in a way that I would enjoy listening to them,” he explains. Harish adds that there won’t be any change in the way the Keerthanas are usually rendered and admits that, at the end of the day, his performances are for the audience and their tastes are of utmost importance. “If I wanted to sing for myself, I would be better off doing that at home,” adds Harish.

If someone with a genuine interest to listen to an unconventional kutcheri approaches him for a performance, then, Harish says, he would be all too happy to sing for them.

And what about the mid-concert interactions, where Harish often introduces different ragas and talks a little about them, which he is quite good at? “I love doing that as it helps take the music to more people and thus make them appreciate the nuances of this art. But it depends completely on the audience. Speaking like that to an audience full of people who are well-versed in Carnatic music would be a childish thing to do. The chances are that the audience at Tripunithura would know more about classical music than I do,” he signs off with a chuckle.

The concert is at Kalikotta Palace, Tripunithura, at 6 pm on February 24. Harish will be accompanied by Attukal Balasubramanium (violin), Palakkad K.S.Mahesh Kumar(mridangam) and Sreejith Vellattanjoor (ghatam).

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Printable version | Mar 5, 2021 2:04:12 PM |

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