Chennai

Notes of harmony

It rained melodies at Ramya Nandakumar’s light music show

Ramya Nandakumar’s Amruthavarsham (with Eternal Music as its tagline) is not a run-of-the-mill light music show. A couple of years ago, when it felicitated Vani Jairam, even the famed singer was in for a surprise. On turning into Habibullah Road on her way to German Hall, where the event was organised, she was welcomed into an open car bedecked with flowers and taken in a procession to the venue. This time too, at Kamarajar Arangam, unique features were aplenty. The show was held for a cause — the welfare of musicians and education for their wards.

The word ‘Harmony’ in the tongue-twister of a title (ISAI Pattaasugalin Harmony Saravedi) piqued my interest. Did it imply that it would be a line-up of songs that included a chorus? The conjecture was correct — almost all the numbers presented had harmony support.

A tableau of 50 singers and more than a dozen musicians — men in white, and women in black — adorned the stage. Carefully-selected songs had them chorusing away delightfully throughout. Generally, AR Rahman’s numbers are considered challenging for stage shows. Yet Amruthavarsham pulled it off. The ‘Veerapaandi Kottaiyile’ song was a case in point. Plaudits to Sujatha Venkatraman, the conductor of the song.

Opening with Ilaiyaraaja’s scintillating theme music of Raja Paarvai, the evening was more an Isaignani musical. Ilaiyaraaja had used 140 musicians for the scintillating melody, ‘Sundari Kannaal’ (Thalapathi). Amruthavarsham made an impact with around 12! His ‘Manidha Manidha’, originally sung by Yesudas, was another such demanding composition that was presented on stage, probably for the first time. The magic of late singer Shahul Hameed’s voice was poignantly re-created by his brother Shamsuddin with Rahman’s ‘Rasathi En Usiru,’ for which chords alone were used.

The evening had its downsides too — unintended vibratos, off-key notes, missed cues… When special invitees, composers SA Rajkumar and Dhina, arrived at least two hours late, and then gave platitudinous speeches, it irked, more because other singers were waiting their turn and time was running out. The angst of rehearsing for days on end only to sing to a near-empty hall can be disconcerting. When eventually Nandakumar exhorted the few people around to stay on, it was well past 10.

Jairam, who arrived on the dot and stayed on till almost the end to encourage the troupe, was an admirable contrast.

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Printable version | Apr 4, 2020 11:59:56 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/Ramya-Nandakumar-Notes-of-Harmony/article17340958.ece

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