I went to my first kutcheri of this December season this Sunday night with Ramanathan (@kriznaz). The performers were Rajesh Vaidhya and his troupe. Being a n00b at Carnatic music, I had no inkling of what to expect, although I had listened to him often on TV. I know a few popular songs, and songs that are favourites of my parents and other close relatives. I have never been trained in music, and I regret it to this day. We went an hour early to the venue at Mylapore and were quite happy (albeit disappointed) that there was not a soul who had arrived before us. We thought we were too early and expected a crowd to build soon. The rain was pouring relentlessly, and that could have dampened the spirit of many rasikas.
When we entered the hall, the crowd was thin and people were starting to come in after the concert began. The first piece was a sloka in Vaachaspathi that was followed by Vaathapi Ganapathim. The next piece was Ganamurthi. They proceeded to perform one of their own compositions in five ragas – Bandhuvaraali, Gowri Manohari, Sindhu Bhairavi, Rasikapriya and Marubehak. This piece sent most of the audience into a trance, and I could see many in the audience swating their heads. I forgot for a moment I was in BVB auditorium and thought I was in Unwind Center, with the audience being dressed in traditional attire. Such was the effect as the performers raised the tempo and we were sent into a state of bliss.
The next pieces were Dhwani, their own composition; Chinnanjiru Kiliye; Kaatrinile Varum Geetham and Jagadhodhaarana. The next piece was Kanda Naal Mudhalaai, a popular movie number that was followed by Wedding Bells, composed by RV’s guru Chitti Babu. The performance culminated with a scintillating rendition of Chandrasekhara Kripanidhey in Sindhu Bhairavi.
Our ears were subjected to divine music for a hundred minutes that evening, and I still can feel the strains of the Veena as I sit in silence. My December season has kicked off with a most interesting concert, and I hope to learn more about the wide ocean that is Carnatic music during this season.
Note: Thanks to Ramanathan for accompanying me, answering my dumb questions and providing me with the song list.