CHENNAI: The music season in Chennai has seen some amazing performances across sabhas. Away from the typical auditorium setting Phoenix MarketCity for the first time is hosting a Margazhi Music Festival at the mall and it brings together the best of both carnatic and hindustani classical music.
Come Wednesday, the mall will see a perfect blend of North and South with the bansuri-veena jugalbandhi — Rakesh Chaurasia, flautist and Jayanthi Kumaresh, veena player will be accompanied by Aditya Kalyanpur, tabla player and KU Jayachandran, mridangam artiste, will enthrall the crowd. City Express got in touch with Jayanthi and Rakesh ahead of their performance.
“It is definitely going to be something very different; something we didn’t dare to attempt before,” says a visibly excited Jayanthi, who comes from a rich lineage of music.
“This is the first time that a classical concert will be held in a mall. It is new for the team and for us. But, this is a beautiful idea,” she adds.
Rakesh also seemed to be excited yet nervous about the performance. “I always have this nervous energy before performing in Chennai because people here are musically inclined,” he laughs.
Interestingly, the duo have not planned anything and have decided to go with the flow. They both voice the same idea, “We will keep the ragas simple as it should suit the ambience and the kind of crowd that comes to the mall.” Rakesh, who is the nephew of renowned musician Hariprasad Chaurasia, plays the bamboo flute and he will begin the concert. “When we meet we will decide on a few pieces and we’ll go ahead from there,” he says.
Both the maestros have performed together earlier and they share a comfort level. “I think too much preparation is also not good. I have worked with Rakeshji and the Jayachandran. It will be my first time with Aditya,” she says.
While Carnatic music is heavy on ragas, Hindusthani has some soft and heavy ones. “But the beaity is that both ragas blend easily and the amalgamation will be beautiful,” says Rakesh. The duo recently performed in London along with western musicians and they are keen on collaborations.
“We have performed with western musicians and the result has been amazing. Here, we will create something, then the percussion artistes also will join us, it’ll be a good mix,” shares Rakesh adding collaborations are old wine in a new bottle.
Though they have grown up in a traditional music environment, where concerts happen inside an auditorium and people leaving it midway is considered insulting, they are happy to bring about a change. “I definitely have that thought; I’m performing in Music Academy one day and the next in a mall. I would love to see the difference,” says Jayanthi.
Rakesh adds, “These experiments are important and it helps us learn too. I love live performances and like to do pieces on the spot. Fusion is something that is easy to digest and it will definitely appeal to the general audience.”
Rakesh is also taking this performance as a challenge to capture the moving crowd in the performance. “I’m aware that the crowd here will be moving in and out. My focus is going to be to play something that will keep them rooted and look at classical music in a different way,” he says.