CHENNAI: In the heart of the city, amidst the bustling streets and the chaotic rhythm of the weekend, a red carpet of serenity and musical artistry unfolded at MS Subbulakshmi Auditorium in the Asian College of Journalism on Sunday. The event of Carnatic extravaganza was knitted together by Sruti Magazine and MadRasna to celebrate the former’s four decades of excellence.
The audience members, jittery with anticipation and wonder, settled into their seats, awaiting a musical odyssey. The concert EN3MBLE was headlined by the three vocalists G Ravikiran, Rithvik Raja, and Vignesh Ishwar, with HN Bhaskar on violin, Praveen Sparsh on mridangam, N Guruprasad on ghatam, and V Anirudh Athreya on kanjira.
Maestros takes center stage
The artists were gracefully seated on the stage, set to tune their instruments, thrumming with a dedication to the centuries-old art form. The ensemble began with the musicians indulging in their first rendition, praising the Lord Kamakshi, in raga Bhairavi, set to the Mishra Chapu Tala and composed by Shyama Shastri.
The event focused on accentuating the concept of voice and its seamless interplay with the melodic sounds of instruments. “The entire idea was to see what roles a voice can play other than standing out right in the centre and leading the orchestra,” says Ritvik, a luminary in the world of Indian classical music. The team had worked tirelessly for the last two months on ideas for bringing about a change in how a voice is considered to be at the forefront, leading the instruments to follow it, adds Ravikiran, fellow vocalist.
The enchanting melody of the stringed veena, the resonating beats of the mridangam, and the hauntingly beautiful tunes of the ghatam and kanjira converged in harmony at the concert. “In the context of an innate hierarchy where the voice holds a prominent position, we endeavoured to explore how it harmonises with the other instruments in a carnatic music ensemble,” explains Vignesh, a prominent vocalist for the performance.
With astonishing dexterity, the artists’ hands moved, evoking heartwarming notes that struck a chord within the audience and weaving a mesmerising atmosphere. The bewitching interplay of the ghatam by N Guruprasad and the mridangam by Praveen Sparsh was a joy to behold, epitomising the very essence of Carnatic music — a flawless fusion of beats and rhythm.
Violinist Bhaskar breathed life into the music with his instrument, infusing it with emotion. His performance weaved a spellbinding tale within the musical narrative. The synergy between the violin, mridangam, and kanjira played by the renowned artist V Anirudh Athreya for compositions like Sagara Sayana Vibho, Kambhoji, and 4-raga Pallavi was nothing short of magical, leaving the audience utterly spellbound. With each of these pieces adding their own charm to the evening along with the interplay of vocal notes, the event was one to be written into the history books.
As the evening approached, and Nenjukku Needhiyum was performed with its notes skyrocketing, the audience was aware that it was time to return from the realm of swarams and talams to the world of realities. As the musicians took their final bow, the auditorium resounded with ear-splitting applause, and a standing ovation paid tribute to their artistry.
“Being a part of such a divine musical ensemble was truly exhilarating. Despite my lack of knowledge about Carnatic music, I consider it a true blessing to have been here today. The experiment with the voice has been a resounding success, and I hope that more artists will undertake such initiatives to present beautiful renditions for music enthusiasts like me to deeply immerse in,” says Keerthana, a music aficionado from the city. Stepping out, each individual carried a heart brimming with reverence for the timeless beauty of Carnatic music.