2016 Apr 23 MeghanaMoorthy VaibhvavRamani SachinPrakash - RTP Concert @ SRSM

Vocal: Vid. MeghanaMoorthy
Violin: Vid. VaibhvavRamani
Mridanga: Vid. SachinPrakash

01. rAga tAna pallavi - jyOthiswarUpiNi and nATTkuranji
chaturaSra tripuTa khaNda naDai 14 akshara after samam
Pallavi Line:  parama purusham dasharatha sutam sri rAmam... sadA bhajEham

02. jAnaki ramaNa dasharatha nandana kApi Adhi jIr swAmi

A Carnatic concert as a medium to achieve very diverse objectives - it can be an emotional journey that the artiste takes the audience with on; or it can be an intellectual challenge that the artiste throws to the audience to engage their brains. But occasionally, a concert resembles a spectator sport more than anything else. The audience is a passive stakeholder merely watching someone do something that is risky / dangerous and difficult to do - like watching someone put their head into a lion's mouth or wrestling with an alligator, or someone revving a mobike in the "well of death". What is common to examples the above? There is a possible adrenaline rush, you acknowledge the difficulty of the task, but their is no real lingering beauty to the activity you have witnessed. The thrill is very temporal.

Meghana's concert with the RTP in jyOtisvArUpiNI & nAtakurinjI in chatusra triputa khaNDA naDAI tala was a very similar exercise. You appreciated the artiste with undertaking a task that is very obviously difficult to execute, and come out of it with her head held high. But was it music that either touched you or challenged you intellectually? Personally - no. I could appreciate the difficulty in delivering an AlApanE, tAna and neraval in a rAgA like jyOtisvArupiNI which has no real character of its own - for me, it seems like a double raga, with nAsikAbhuShaNI as the pUrvAnga and ShaNmukhaprIyA as the uttarAngA. Yes - the challenge is in singing it without fulling into either of these across the full 7 notes of the scale, but once you acknowledge that, its kind of lived out its purpose.

Yes - there was a weighty nATakuranjI to add gravitas to the proceedings and to the young lady's credit, she did give a good account of herself and her tutelage in the rendering of nATakurinjI.

The pallavI could have had more going for it if it were a rAgAkshara pallavI (incorporating the names of the rAgAs in it) - that way, an arcane scale like jyOtisvArUpiNI for RTP would have had a clear purpose. Given the generic sAhityA of the pallavI, it could have been rendered in any rAgA from tODI to sarvaSrI (vidwan BMK's 3 note rAgA which goes Sa-Ma-Pa-Sa:Sa-Pa-Ma-Sa!).

However, youth is the time to challenge oneself to attempt things that seem unnecessarily difficult and serve no useful purpose to self-proclaimed more mature people. As George Mallory (the man who would have been the first to scale Mt Everest but for nature getting in the way) is reputed to have said when asked why he wanted to climb the Everest - "because it is there!". I can relate to situations of similar adrenaline rush that I experienced after picking up a new skill / a new vehicle !

As the concert picked up, audience rush (for the next concert) kept flowing in and on-board socialization in VIP class seats, did create a noisy atmosphere in the hall. The self proclaimed "Donors" claim to have moral rights over making noise while the very art they are sponsoring is being demonstrated. Meghana maintained her poise and composer over the entire length of the concert.

I wish Meghana all the very best on her journey in music - experiment, falter, pick yourself up and keep moving; these are steps that should give you confidence in your capability, but to finally connect with the audience, you have to layer the science of music with a thick coat of art, and that has to be a heart to heart connection.


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