Posted by: Radha | April 6, 2009

A Voice Divine

I have an addition to my list of ‘most unforgettable moments’ and what a grand one at that – watching Dr K.J Yesudas sing ‘Harivarasanam’ live.

I belong to the invisible club of millions of South Indian families who wake up to M.S. singing the ‘Venkatesha Suprabhatam’ and Dr Yesudas’s rendition of ‘Endaro Mahanubhavulu’. Our ears are adapted to these Godly voices and most of us could recite these elaborate shlokas as kids.
Dr Yesudas has been performing for the Ramaseva Mandali for ages now. I remember my mom and granny attending these concerts when we were little kids. When I got the chance to spend a Sunday evening listening to Dr Yesudas, I decided I wasn’t going to miss it for anything. I realised that thousands of people made up their minds just like me when we reached the venue. 30 minutes before the start of the programme, every single seat was full and hundreds of people were yet to enter. The organisers later admitted that the crowd turnout was unprecedented and they were not prepared to handle it.

It was Dr Yesudas’ first performance since he turned a Grandfather. (I am guessing Vijay Yesudas is now a father, it was mentioned when the entire family came on ‘Coffee with Anu’). He was accompanied by the renowned Nagai Muralidharan on the violin. Performing with them were Tiruvarur Bhaktavatsalam and Vaikom Gopalakrishnan on the Mridangam and the Ghatam. The audience was treated to some pure jewels. Some of the more popular ones were ‘Shira Sagara Shayna’ and ‘Endaro Mahanubhavulu’ (the latter was an audience request). The jugalbandi between the Mridangam and Ghatam was spellbinding. My favorites came after the ‘Tani’. ‘Krishna Nee Begane Baro’, ‘Alaipayuthey Kanna’, ‘Ellellu Sangeethave’ and of course, the highlight of any concert by the great man, ‘Harivarasanam’. He sang a Krithi composed in the raaga ‘Vanaspati’ and told the audience that it took him 3-4 years to master the raaga. Modesty personified, he said that he’s still learning and for all practical purposes, still a student.

Though the venue was teeming with people and many had to stand through the performance, it was by far the most peaceful event I have attended. Credit goes to the Man, his Music and his Divine Voice. I wonder, is it possible to bring about peace through music?

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