Monsoon Rhythms

By Ayush Jain (LT MHPS)

Monsoon is a time of the year which is eagerly awaited and brings immense joy and relief. Music and dance coupled with the rains of monsoon would surely be a treat for the senses.

Such an event was organized by HCL titled ‘Monsoon Rhythms’ at the Kamani Auditorium, New Delhi in the month of July. A celebration of tunes, music and dance was in store for the audience with the theme of ‘Monsoon’. The tickets were sold out well in advance and the auditorium was jam-packed eager to witness the performances.

The first performance was a Carnatic percussion act called ‘3G’, signifying three generations playing together. It featured the renowned ‘Grammy award-winning percussion artist ‘Vidwan Vikku Vinayakram’ on Ghatam, the clay urn. His son and the music director Selvaganesh was on the drums and his grandson Swaminathan on a variety of percussion instruments. The name “3G” signifies his three generations who form this band.

Ghatam is a little known instrument up north. So when the veteran Vinayakram hit the first notes on the ghatam, the whole auditorium sat up in attention. It is difficult to imagine the sort of melodious music the earthenware and the air inside it produces.

The highlight of their performance was when the grandson started to emulate the sound that rain and winds make when trains are passing through the monsoon in different regions. This was something very unique and the notes of the percussion instruments were distinct and distinguishable and sounded like a perfect melody. They had the audience in awe as one cannot anticipate such sounds being played on any instrument.

This was followed by the combination of ghatam and the other percussion instruments being played simultaneously by all the three generations. They gradually built up the tempo with unique rhythms being played by taking turns on each instrument, escalating to a crescendo with all instruments being played simultaneously. Such was the percussive genius that no electronic instrument or modern technology can replicate it. After the epitome of the performance was heard, the audience erupted with a standing ovation, appreciative of the genius they had just witnessed.

This performance will be followed by a musical, a unique Bharatanatyam presentation by
the National Award-winning actor and danseuse Shobana, titled ‘Trance’. The act used Indian performing traditions to depict the mythology of Lord Shiva and Vishnu, fusing it with the legend of Mary Magdalene (widely known in Christian tradition), with rich movement and visual imagery, complemented by sounds ranging from Indian classical to electronic.

The set was a piece based on mythology and religious harmony. Shobana was remarkable in her roles as Goddess Kali and Lord Krishna. The performances were backed by a storyline playing in the background supplementing the moves and the depictions. The performances were diverse and entertaining, where the classical dance moves depicted the rich Indian tradition. The dances were a feast for the eyes and a testament to the training that goes in mastering these dance forms.

The disappointing part was when the troupe moved on to Indian classical and electronic sounds. The sounds were played in the background digitally rather than being produced from actual instruments.

In spite of the above, the overall event was highly enjoyable and a unique presentation, greatly appreciated by the audiences.

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