CHENNAI: The spaces hosting Carnatic music and musicians is no longer specific to temples and sabhas, and has trickled to spaces like theaters, Metro stations in the last couple of years. So, why not malls? Renowned violinists and, vocalists sister duo Ranjani-Gayatri are all set to enthral audience at Phoenix MarketCity, marking their first mall-performance on January 26.
The Ra-Ga pair had a phenomenal Margazhi season. “Exploring works of Bharathiyar, Thirukkural, putting them to tune and singing them as Ragam, Tanam, and Pallavi, dabbling with ragas we haven’t sung before — we musically did a lot of such experiments,” says Ranjani.
Every season, the duo says, is always a new challenge. “Your best performance sets the minimum bar for your next. Every time, you are expected to cross that expectation. This keeps us on our toes, and we give our best,” she shares.
From singing on the banks of Ganga, performing in our very own Sathyam theatre to performing in Mumbai with the Gateway of India in the backdrop, the duo has done it all. “Singing in these places have been extremely memorable. Every inch of space was taken up by the audience inside the theatre. To see the space overflowing with rasikas, and to see classical music have such an endearing place in people’s hearts is something that came as a revelation to us,” shares Gayatri, reminiscing their performance in MadRasana’s concert.
Talking about performing in a mall, to a wider audience, Gayatri points to how music has always been presented in places where people congregate. “Earlier, about 100 years ago, people used to congregate in temples. Then it was democratised and sabhas became a more logical space. Now, as society and the crowd evolve, it is our responsibility to take music to different places where people come together. It doesn’t matter if it’s the banks of Ganga or a mall...once we start singing it draws us into a divine spell. I don’t think the setting would change the nature or essence of music, which is truly sublime,” she says.
There’s something about the sisters that’s endearing to the audience. Ask them if they have ever zeroed on the factor, and they laugh. “There could be many factors. But the simple fact is that certain things are meant to be. Just like how certain sounds reverberate, certain voices and kind of music resonates and connects with people. We don’t know how the magic occurs...that’s why it’s magic,” says Gayatri, adding that genuine joy and heartfelt emotional connect could be a reason.
The sisters will perform for about 90 to 120 minutes at the mall. “We may try to make the pieces shorter, but with the original intensity. Since it’s happening on Republic Day, we may even celebrate national integration with pieces that commemorate diverse republic India,” says Ranjani.
The duo has interesting concerts in the pipeline this year, but “it’s too soon to many any announcements,” they say. “We waited a long time before we started collaborating with people from other genres. Collaboration is only meaningful when there’s a lot of warmth and good camaraderie between people. More than the details of music, the attitude with which you collaborate makes it truly beautiful,” says Gayatri.