A pleasant shower of music and folk arts in Coimbatore

A scene from ‘Vaali Moksha’, Yakshagana by IdagunjiMahaganapati Yakashgana Manadali at GRD School, as part of the VasanthaPanchami Kala Utsav in the city on Saturday.  

A gentle, soothing stream of music flowed across Coimbatore city on Saturday, with exponents in carnatic vocal, folk arts, contemporary Indian music and qawwali serving up a sumptuous musical fare.

The trees in the Botanic Garden of the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University here were drenched in a different kind of shower on Saturday — of swaras, ragas and abhangs by Aruna Sairam.


She was singing at the Vasantha Panchami Kala Utsav, organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry, Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Coimbatore), Coimbatore District Small Industries Association, Southern India Engineering Manufacturers' Association, South India Heritage Conservation Trust and The Hindu.

The skies were clear and the open stage had as backdrop trees and the idols of Panduranga and Rakumai. Before the concert began, a group of scholars chanted the shanthi mantras.

Vasantha Panchami is Goddess Saraswathi's birthday and Aruna began with ‘Mamavathu Sri Saraswathi'. When the swaras reached a crescendo, the trees sent down a shower of leaves.

She then sang the Thyagaraja krithi ‘Vandanamu' and ‘Sadha Saaranga Nayane' in Ranjani.

The abhang, ‘Theertha Vittala' was met with cheery applause.

Her regulars — ‘Vishamakkaara Kannan', ‘Enna Kavi Paadinalum and ‘Bhaagyadaa Lakshmi' — met with joyous approval.

It was nearing lunch when Aruna concluded with ‘Bhojanam Seyya Vaarungo'. The audience left feeling they had partaken of a feast.

Earlier, braving the early morning cold weather of the cotton city, a sizeable number of classical music enthusiasts collected at the tastefully and artistically decorated hall adjacent to the Ramar temple in Ramnagar for the Udayaraga programme by vocalist T.M. Krishna.

This was the first event of the Kala Utsav.

After rendering two numbers in front of the temple (while the rasikas were awaiting his arrival in the hall), he rushed to the dais to provide an extraordinary musical experience, presenting the poetic faces of ragas and warming up a typically chill Coimbatore morning.

Students from schools across the city had a rare opportunity to delve into the traditional theatre of the neighbouring State of Karnataka.

The artists from Sri Idagunji Mahaganapathi Yakshagana Mandali, Keremane, performed Yakshagana before a delighted audience who clapped and cheered as the episode of Vaalivadham from Ramayana unfolded before them.

The performance of the actors in their glittery costumes, head-gear and face paintings was accompanied by singers and percussion artists.

The event began with the scene where an anxious Rama and Lakshmana, after chasing the golden deer, returned to find Sita missing.

The narrative got interesting as Sugriva and Hanuman entered the scene.

The commotion in the monkey clan and their pranks added a light touch to the otherwise gloomy story of Sita's kidnapping and the battle between the brothers Vali and Sugriva.

Director Keremane Shivananda Hegde, who enacted the role of Rama, said that despite the dialogues and songs being in Kannada, the response from audience showed that language was no barrier to enjoying art.

Dim lights, a clear night sky and by the pool-side - a perfect setting at Le Meridien Hotel for Chennai-based contemporary music band, Yodhakaa, to perform as part of the Kala Utsav.

Yodhakaa's speciality lies in the fact that all their music is inspired from Sanskrit slokas.

Their songs are short yet melodious and unique. The band opened the night's performance with ‘Sri Harivallabhe', a slow soothing song that set the mood for the audience.

It was their popular song, ‘Shwethambhara' that brought out the Carnatic music stylings of Vidhya Vijay and Pradeep. ‘Poorvam', a song on the epics - Mahahbharata and Ramayana - was next.

Adding to the performance was Darbuka Siva, the percussionist of the band, who explained the meaning of each song before it began.

The day-long event wound up with the city getting the taste of a vibrant qawwali by the Warsi brothers – Nazeer Ahmed Khan Warsi and Naseer Ahmed Khan Warsi, who belong to the Qawwal Bachchon ka Gharana.

The show switched from a soulful Yodhakaa to a high energy qawwali.

A robust Kabir composition that propagated unity and oneness and some more memorable ones provided Coimbatore with a feast for the eyes and ears from the Warsi brothers, who are from a line of singers who had sung in the courts of the Mughal rulers.

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Printable version | May 9, 2021 11:23:29 AM |

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