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Improv, done musically

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   February 26, 2018

Improv, done musically

The musical evening takes place at Chowdiah Memorial Hall on February 27, 6 pm onwards.

Nine maestros come together to make music for a cause and showcase their command of performing on-the-spot

There’s always a special allure that classical music has, especially when it has a blend of unpredictability and improvisation added. Imagine what could happen if you have nine artistes coming together to showcase the magical allure improv classical music has. That is what is really happening this Tuesday with some of the most sought-after names in the classical scene.

Leading the convoy of multi-talented artistes is the renowned Umayalpuram K Sivaraman, the only mridangam vidwan to have been conferred all three Padma Awards — Padma Sri, Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan. Joining him on stage will be violin maestro Mysore Nagraj, Bengaluru percussionist Giridhar Udupa, Belgian saxophonist and the first user of the aulochrome (a double soprano saxophone) Fabrizio Cassol, who performs in India for the first time, Sufi singer Ustad Maa Zila Khan, music composer from the Malayalam music industry M Jayachandran, chenda artiste from Kerala Mattannoor Sankarankutty, pianist Stephen Devassy and Carnatic vocalist Kavalam Sreekumar.

Titled ‘Swaralaya’ the event is organised by HCG Foundation in association with Swaralaya Academy in aid of cancer patients, the musicians have the added bonus of performing for a noble cause. Showering praises for the team, Mysore Nagaraj says he’s eagerly waiting to “participate in this great combination of stalwarts from across the world. I admire the idea of Swaralaya and HCG bringing all of us together.”

On the concert itself, he says: “Since we all have the ability to improvise on stage, it is sure to be an attractive and memorable show. These are some of the best artistes from their respective fields. Vidwan Sivaraman will bring the magical touch. He’s the captain of this team. This is a concert with very high standards that everyone will enjoy.”

Nagaraj adds that the audience will experience a presentation by the combination of great vocalists and great instrumentalists. He also hopes a lot of young people turn up for the show. “I hope they are inspired and I suggest they give classical music a listen. We all grew up by listening and 75 per cent of the teaching is done through listening.”

Equally excited about the show are Bengaluru’s Giridhar Udupa and Thiruvananthapuram’s M Jayachandran. While Giridhar says he is “Honoured to share the stage with maestros of this calibre,” Jayachandran says: “It’s always great to be in the presence of such eminent talent and learn from one another. “

Giridhar continues: “It’s amazing to team up with Sivaraman sir. He’s curating the concert and in my journey with him for about 10 years, we always done big things musically. I’m also sharing stage with my inseparable friend Stephen and our dearest Naganna who is my inspiration. All the musicians are highly talented and this is the first time the nine of us are coming together in this scale.”

Commenting on the improvisational factor, Jayachandran points out: “In any art, unpredictability is the delightful factor. Here, we will have nothing rehearsed. Most of it is impromptu. This will showcase the immense creativity on stage and will be a true spectacle of talent.”

Giridhar agrees: “Everyone is a professional. We will only plan the structure and the improvisation will happen on its own.”

For the audience, he says: “They can expect something special from Sivaraman sir. There will be lots of surprises.” Jayachandran echoes the same thought: “Sivaraman sir is the icing on the cake. To be part of a bigger picture of making music for a purpose and helping people combat cancer is an added factor.”

He adds that while they are all coming from different genres, at the heart of their music will be: “Music from the heart. We will be unpredictable and in a class of our own. In fact, we are interacting with some of them for the first time. Usually people like experimental music which is usually not the case in Carnatic classical concerts. But here, we don’t know what is going to happen. We will keep the audience guessing. The interaction is more and predictability is lessened. It’s going to be magical,” he sums up.
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