37th year Art festival 2011
This must have been the biggest day for 37th Year Art Festival of Kartik Fine Arts.
Looked like all the roads of the Chennai's December music fest converged at Kartik Fine Arts' fest in Narada Gana Sabha. The campus had the view of a real mela, cramped with motor vehicles zooming in and out. The voice that mesmerised the masses, Dr K J Yesudoss was there to perform a Carnatic classical concert, the evening's only event. The crowds of elegantly dressed rasikas told tales of the magic spell the legendary cine singer had cast on them.
The presence of a galaxy of celebrities and dignitaries, from the cine and corporate worlds, top brass in administration, and music connoisseurs, made it a glittering event. Half hour in advance the hall was almost full. People had turned up from East and West to hear their idol sing. The members of the singer's family were present. It was dignified silence in the hall when they waited.
Yesudoss was honoured by the sabha committee with a shawl, after a brief introductory speech.
The artiste spoke before the concert offering pranams to his Guru, Chembai Vaidhyanatha Bhagavathar and others. Yesudoss said, that he was still in the learning process, which meant he was 'reading' the krithis from his laptop monitor during the concerts!
Well, Yesudoss's recital gave the feeling of a Thiagaraja Aradhana! The concert featured predominantly Thiagaraja krithis in succession - Saadinchine - Pancharatna krithi in Aarabhi, Kantajudumi in Lathangi (or Vachaspathi? not sure), Enthaninne - Mukhari, Vara Naradha Narayana in Vijayasri, Mokshamu Galadha - Saramathi, Enta Bhagyamu in Saranga, Kathanu variki (the main item with elaborate alapana, neraval and exquisite kalpanaswarams, and thani avarthanam by the accompanying percussionists) in Thodi.
However, he started the concert with Sankarabharana raga varnam, followed it up with 'Vathapi Ganapathim' (Hamsadhwani) and 'Pavana Guru' in Hamsanandhi.
S R Mahadeva Sharma on Violin, K V Prasad on Mridangam and Thiruppunithura Radhakrishnan on the Ghatam added lustre to the concert.
The string of end pieces contained a Malayalam krithi on Ambal, Oothukkadu Vekatakavi's 'Aadathu asangathu vaa' in Madhyamavathi, a Hindi doha in praise of Lord Rama, a verse on Lord Guruvayurappa....
He concluded the three hour concert with the customary Harivarasanam. Playing the recorded version, of this sloka synonymous with Yesudoss, is a regular ritual in all the Lord Aiyappa temples. This is a craze among the devotees. So, it is said that he never skips this song in concerts.
Hardly people walked out of the concert; they hardly even moved in their seats - it was rapt and religious attention. If at all a few left the hall, it was only for more and more of them to walk in. They were coming in till the last minute, in a hope to steal a glimpse of the singer and hear his sonorous voice, that are close to their hearts. KFA's committee volunteers were seen coaxing and seating the burgeoning rasika crowds that kept them on their toes.