Music

Mixing it up for Margazhi

(Left to right) Pianist Anil Srinivasan, author Devdutt Pattanaik and Carnatic vocalist Sikkil Gurucharan

(Left to right) Pianist Anil Srinivasan, author Devdutt Pattanaik and Carnatic vocalist Sikkil Gurucharan  

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Pianist Anil Srinivasan, author Devdutt Pattanaik and Carnatic vocalist Sikkil Gurucharan on their experimental presentation for the December music season

Five years ago during Margazhi, pianist Anil Srinivasan and author Devdutt Pattanaik worked on a performance titled Black, White and Grey, in which they alternated storytelling and music. This year, they add Carnatic vocalist Sikkil Gurucharan to the mix, for a musical narrative, Secrets and Songs, that will engage audiences in melody and prose alike.

The culmination of a decade-long friendship and eight years of collaboration, Srinivasan calls this creation a product of universal inspiration — a natural progression of a meeting of artistic minds. Pattanaik adds, “Anil and I have always found the idea of music complementing myth-retelling both personally and professionally appealing. Our upcoming presentation focusses on Mahavishnu as the theme of the evening.” The pianist’s use of ragas and talams will aim at infusing an emotive quality to the author’s tales.

As for Gurucharan — who has an extensive history of Carnatic collaboration with Srinivasan — he will perform a ragam-tanam-pallavi. For the uninitiated, it is an intricate compositional structure that involves improvisational techniques meant to highlight the artistes’ prowess in the given art form. “What we will be presenting differs from the kutcheri format, but it isn’t entirely divergent from what a traditional ragam-tanam-pallavi might sound like. The only major distinction is that we might focus more on a lyric-based composition such as a krithi, which allows for greater thematic exploration,” Gurucharan tells us.

The performance may seem rather atypical for the Margazhi lineup, but ask whether this is reflective of changing times in the arts, and Srinivasan has a simple, yet stern, response. “Is it written somewhere that music must only be presented in a certain way or format? I see it this way: with time, new formats and ideas will keep cropping up, and with them, the enrichment of what we, as artistes, have to offer.”

Secrets and Songs will take place on December 21 at 6 pm, at the Sivagami Pethachi Auditorium, Mylapore, under the auspices of Brahma Gana Sabha. Tickets are available at the venue.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2020 10:30:03 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/music/mixing-it-up-for-margazhi/article30297566.ece

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