Talking about how the idea of doing such a concert came about, Ranjani and Gayatri said, “The first time we met Raaja sir was when he invited us to sing the song Maayone in his movie. The warmth of the conversation and the way we shared ideas at this meeting made us feel like kindred spirits. We were absolutely impressed by the genuineness and generosity of Raaja sir. So, the idea of such a concert, we assume, germinated in his mind at that time. We were talking about how we Carnatic musicians see his music and admire his brilliant use of a raga or talam, when for the masses it is just a beautiful melody with great orchestration that fits perfectly to the situation of a film. music is a beautiful bridge for a layman to connect with classical music, and he told us: “Neenga idha janangalukku poyi sollanum”. And so he invited us to present this concert as part of his birthday celebrations.
The concert, they say, will reinterpret the maestro’s music using Carnatic idioms. “It’s basically about looking at his music through the eyes of a Carnatic musician. We won’t have a 40-member orchestra, but we’ll present the songs as a regular kutcheri with fiddle, mridangam and ghatam. The tracks will be centered around Raaja Sir’s compositions, but the way they emerge and take shape in the concert is going to be very refreshing.”
The duo says that before presenting a piece, they will explain what they are going to do, and talk about the different layers, the orchestration, the comings and goings of the instruments, the different bases of the melody. “The highlight of a Carnatic concert is the manodharma, which is a spontaneous presentation. So by merging this aspect and the music of Raaja sir, it will be more of a tribute to his music. In light music, every little detail is statement., here, we have a lot of leeway and spontaneity, and that’s what we’re going to do,” they say.
While refusing to share the songs to be expected at the concert, Ranjani and Gayatri say, “We want to keep that element of surprise and keep people guessing. Many of the songs we have chosen for this concert are not performance. Sindhu Bhairavi’s songs may be favorites because they are classical, but many of his compositions, even romantic numbers, like Pani Vizhum Malarvanam or Azhage Azhagu, or dance numbers, have many aspects of classical. music and we’ll showcase that.”
So what kind of input did the maestro provide for the concert? “He was so excited and happy, encouraging us to go ahead with what we came up with, saying that we had done our homework well. He had some suggestions of what we could include and we included them in the concert” , they say. . However, they add that the maestro did not get a preview of the performance. “We actually asked him if he’d like to come to one of our rehearsals, but he said no. He said, ‘I’ll leave it up to you. I trust you and I know you’re going to prepare and play well.’, ” the revelation.
Raaja By RaGa @ Music Academy, TTK Road, Royapettah, June 5, 6:30 p.m.