By Lavanya Narayanan
9 November 2016
Day 8 began quite solemnly around the globe, when countries around the world expressed their desolation as news of the American election results came in. A sudden cash overhaul throughout India added to already-high tensions. Yet, a reminder of music and a festival for national and international peace provided a rather soothing and uplifting escape.
The first event of the day, the laya jam, brought together khanjira, morsing, ghatam, mridangam, and konakkol artists to present a unified understanding of rhythm through different vadyams. The laya jam concept has been presented multiple times throughout this year; recently, Arkay Convention Centre hosted a khanjira quartet and other presentations have taken place to highlight the use of percussion in Carnatic music. Yet, the innovation presented in this laya jam was commendable: the five diverse instruments were used to present a ‘one, two, and four’ formatted piece. A khanjira solo by Shree Sundarkumar began the presentation, followed by a ghatam duo by N Guruprasad and Chandrasekhara Sharma. A quartet of konnakol, morsing, khanjira, and mridangam then showcased the interplay of instruments by Somashekhar Jois, Sai Subramaniam, B.S. Purushothaman, and B. Sivaraman respectively. The jam succeeded in involving the audience in the capabilities of percussive instruments, something that can isolate listeners during a tani avartanam of a concert.
Aruna Sairam and Ronu Mazumdar then joined together on stage to present ‘Voice and the Wind.’ It proved to be a rather novel demonstration of their individual styles and brought out a softer side of Aruna Sairam’s vocalizations that is less prevalent in her solo kutcheris. The two blended well on stage and was enjoyable to listen to.
The last event of the day was jazz-Carnatic collaboration between the violin duo, Ganesh-Kumaresh, and Keith Peters, bass guitarist. Keith has been seen on many Carnatic stages and in the film world and in collaboration with Ganesh-Kumaresh previously. However, ‘Carnatic Chills’ presented many novel ideas and strong support by accompanists Anantha Krishnan, Arun Kumar, and Anada Prasanna Nayak helped create a well-rounded performance for listeners.