Cerebral Shangrila

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Sanjay Subramanian - Live at Sydney - Concert Review

It has been raining music in Sydney. Braving the cold weather and drizzle, rasikas turned up in full steam (with steaming filter coffee for company) at the UWS Campus for the 3-day Sydney Music Festival.

Sanjay started the concert in his usual brisk manner with the Viriboni varnam in "Bhairavi" sung to three speeds - Vilamba, Madhyama and Dhuridha Kaalam. It was a great warm-up for the day, akin to a Sehwag sixer in the 1st over. He then sang the Thiruvarutpa " Sama Geetha Priyan" in Raaga "Gaulai". I had listened to this song a few years ago in Sanjay's Jaya TV Margazhi Mahotsavam concert. His pronunciation was commendable with no "Sanskrit vaadai". The next two songs were the Thyagaraja compositions "Evari Kai" in Raaga "Devamanohari" and "Janaka" in Raaga "Asaveri". He elaborated the "Asaveri" Raaga for 5 minutes giving enough glimpse of this rarely sung raaga.

Next came a "Kamboji" raaga alapana that was out of the world and then followed with the song " Adiyenai" that dripped with Karuna rasa, a hallmark of Kamboji. Hindolam is one of my favorite ragas and Sanjay sang a quick "Neerajakshi", preparing the listeners for the RTP. Just when you thought RTP was around the corner, there was yet another brisk " Niravathi" in raaga "Ravi chandrika" that added pace and fervor to the concert.

He started the RTP and within seconds I was throwing by dice between raagas "Nattai" Vs "Chala Nattai" - which were both unusual choices for an RTP. Quickly I figured it was indeed "Chala Nattai" and was amazed by his choice of this rare raga for an elaborate rendition. Contrary to my expectations, he didn't sing a ragamalika and sang the RTP fully in one raga for almost 45 minutes. He brought the intricacies of this beautiful & romantic raaga and kept the audience enthralled for the next hour. Though a Melakartha raagam (36th), Chala nattai has rarely been sung in an elaborate manner in concerts. On a related note, Illayaraja, the musical genius had captured the essence of this raga in the beautiful melody " Pani Vizhum Malar Vanam". As Sanjay elaborated the raaga, I realized the boundless genius of Illayarja for capturing the raaga's essence in a mere 4 minutes song. The more he sang it, "Pani Vizhum" was running like a background score in my mind. Viloiinist Nagai Sriram followed Sanjay in an adept manner throughout the rendition. The Kriti chosen was "Jalame".

How can one not have a Bharathiyar composition? "Payum Oli Nee" followed next (Not sure what the raaga is , seemed like Mand to me) and Sanjay 's delight was evident as he enjoyed singing it, imagining himself as the great poet. It was followed by "Vizhikku thunai" a virutham in "Mohanam" and "Va Va" in "Sindhu Bhairavi". I adore Sindhu Bhairavi and wished Sanjay had sung a bit more of it. He then wrapped up the concert with a Thillana in "Kapi" and Mangalam.

It was a phenomenal concert and yet another exhibition of the creative peak that Sanjay has been enjoying in the past few years.Great start to a weekend !

Here is the full song list:

1. Viriboni - Bhairavi
2. Sama geetha - Gaula
3. Evari kai - Deva manohari
4. Janaka - Asaveri
5. Adiyenai - Kamboji
6. Neerajakshi - Hindolam
7. Niravathi - Ravi chandrika
8. Jalame - Chala Nattai
9. Payum oli - Mand (I think so)
10. Vizhikku - Mohanam, Sindhu Bhairavi, vaa vaa
11. Thillana - Kapi
12. Mangalam - Sowrashtram



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