Last year I had been to Dakshinayan, it was a awesome experience to see the artist like Viku Vinayakaram (Ghatam) and Kadri Gopalanath (Saxophone) , along with A. Kanyakumari (Violin) and K.V. Prasad (Mirudangam). I even got the autograph of some artist last time around. This time it was a vocal concert of Dr. Nityashree Mahadevan, followed by Karaikudi Mani on the Mirudangam. I don't know how, but Nityashree's music gives me goosebumps.
I really don't know. Her voice just captivates my imaginations and gives my soul an ever inspiring thrill and happiness. I had never attended a live concert of hers'. This was my first one and I didn't want to be late. Landmark, Infiniti mall were distributing tickets. I got them with considerable ease, as the interest in Carnatic music in Mumbai is highly restricted to people who follow with utmost devotion. My good old stream friend, Nitin was up for this despite his feverish and throat irritation.
We made it to Worli well before time despite traffic jams playing a impediment role in our scheme of things that evening. As we were seated, I overheard a conversation between 3 elderly women, well in their 60s. One was asking, long time no see, give me your email address, we can keep in touch. Really, I just hope they don't have a facebook profile. :) :)
Dakshinayan has got this habit of being on time, which is one of the stepping stones to its success. Sharp 6:30 pm the bell rung and there she was dressed in purple coloured pattu saree (Kachipuram silk), Nityashree Mahadevan; with her ever graceful smile. The first song was "Sri Vignarajam Baaje"; fantastic rendering, enthralling the audience with her elan and showering notes after notes with complete ease.
The raaga alapana came with a song in Mohanam. Slowly the audience started tapping their legs to the rhythm of mirudangam or getting animated with their hands and heads. Their heads were very well locked and swaying as the enthralling music touched their ears. The high pitched moments left everyone lifting their hands towards heaven. Then she touched raaga Rithigowla wherein there was a masterful deception of pauses and low pitched phases. I made it a point that, I would count the number of times, I get goosebumps. To be frank, I really lost count after the 3rd one. Songs on Muruga, Maha vishnu, Krishna, Rama followed.
Even the Gods must have stopped by at Worli station for a moment and listened for while. She sung for one and half hours. I should say, the unstoppable river of absorbing and griping musical notes finally met the sea with a Kannada song about Krishna. After all was done, she was felicitated. I went behind stage to get an autograph. (borrowed a pen from someone :) :))
She was looking for her slippers, I said,"madam, autograph please". Looking at my face, even she had a smile on her face, she said, "just a minute, I am looking for my footwear. " Finally I really got to talk to this living legend, I should say. Got her autograph, this one is very special for me!! The concert that followed was Karaikudi Mani. He said he has a 55 years of experience of playing mirudangam. I think man that is more than twice my age. Where am I in comparison to him, nowhere........
He played Chathusram, Kandam, Thisram and Mishram. The guy with him on the Ganjera also stole the show. His name was N. Amrit. I just don't have words to explain, what I saw. Karaikudi Mani just swept the accolades with his master rhythmic strokes. Too fast and too furious. He got a standing ovation. I also managed to get the autograph of Karaikudi mani aswell, though his hands were trembling after the performance, hence the shaky handwriting. Ravikiran on the chitraveena was a very short concert with just 3 songs. He is another child prodigy who started playing and singing at the age of 2. Phew!! I just experienced the concert of my life......