Musical milestone

FOR A music troupe to have kept itself young and going for 30 years is a feat. Especially at a time when musical tastes change at the snap of a finger and singers come and go at the blink of an eye. That Musiano has done it, regaling aficionados with popular music, is commendable. It tells you a lot about the talent of the main players of the troupe, A.V. Ramanan and Uma Ramanan.

Musiano celebrated its 30th anniversary on Saturday aptly with an evening of music titled "Ananda Raagangal," after the song that made Uma famous. The show, held at the Music Academy, was in aid of the YWCA, an organisation that has been caring for underprivileged and destitute women.

The repertoire for the show was culled from Uma's 200-odd film songs, most of which were sung to the `golden' baton of maestro Ilaiyaraja. Her classically trained silky voice also caught the attention of composers such as Shankar-Ganesh, Hamsalekha and Vidyasagar.

The show got off to a prayerful start by Uma, but not before Ramanan's long introductions and thanksgiving to various people in the audience, who have played an important role in Musiano's birth, growth and survival.

Once the programme got under way, it was a nostalgic trip for many in the audience. Some of the songs are popular to this day, some are rarely heard while many have just slipped from memory. The evening not only showcased the superb vocal range of the singers but also reiterated the genius of Ilaiyaraja. Remember the beautiful "Kasturi maanae" (Pudumai Penn), the Spanish tone in "Palli araikul" (Bala Nagamma), the classical "Aagaya vennilavae" (Arangetra Velai) or the rustic charm of "Sevarali thotathilae" (Bhagwathipuram Railway Gate), sung by the maestro and Uma? They sure have the power to mesmerise you even today.

For the record, some of the other numbers presented were "Boopalam isaikum" (Thooral Ninnu Pochu), "Nee padhi, naan padhi kanna" (Kaeladi Kanmani), "Nil nil nil badil sol" (Paatu Padava), "Pon maane" (Oru Kaidhiyin Diary), "Vaa sakhi" (Arasiyal) and "Sri Ranganatha" (Mahanadhi). And, of course, that soulful Ilaiyaraja number "Ananda raagam" from "Paneer Pushpangal". Uma and Ramanan got ample backing from the orchestra and the guest singers, who have very good voices.

The evening proved a befitting way to celebrate a landmark in one's musical journey.


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