Nithyashree or Bombay Jayshree:
On Saturday, Nithyashree‘s performance in Mylapore Fine Arts Club was one of the best carnatic concerts, I’ve witnessed. It never had any dull moments. From the start to finish, Nithyshree was full of energy which made the audience spell-bound.
Being the grand daughter of DK Pattammal is just one of the advantages she has. But she clearly races others with her ability to grip the audience and with the choice of her songs. She seems like a fresher from college who is with lots of high spirits and thoughts to change the world in a fashion, he/she likes. And that is what is giving her the energy to stay put throughout the 3 and half hour show.
Like Suhashini in Sindhu Bhairavi movie, she understands the importance of tamil songs to get the audience votes. Most of her songs were in tamil. A song called Ragathil Siranthathu Kalyaniya Kaambothiya was fabulous. But Nithyashree special was Muruganai Kaana Ayiram Kann Vendum. She looked like Rahul Dravid against the Aussies. Nithyashree is a performer to watch out. She has lots of time and age to accomplish what her ancestors did.
Some tidbits from Nithyashree show :
a) Someone got up in the end of a song and asked Nithyashree to reduce the speaker volume and told her that they can enjoy the music well. After the concurrence with the backseaters, she asked the speaker guy to do the same. At the same time one mama behind me whispered loudly (!!) ” This is Kattukathal (shout)”. Maybe his experience with carnatic was more for him to comment on her but many don’t understand the fact that she sings from the deep throat and hence the voice may sound like too many decibels. Also her choice of songs are very fast and racy that makes one feel that she is too fast. Slow songs alone don’t depict a melodious song.
b) She gives a suprise stare at people who leave in-between the songs. So many a time she prefers to sing with her eyes closed. Even I wanted to have a cofee when she was researching with her raga aalapanai. But I thought it was so uncooth to get up and walk in-between a show like that. Many never bothered to think that and they just walk out. I only pray that there will come a rule when people cannot go out during songs. I am sure that attending a 3 hour concert is stressful. But we also need to think that it affects the singers.
c) Many wrote the song which they wanted her to sing, in a sheet of paper and passed it to her. She finally sang one song out of that bunch. Because it is practically impossible for someone to sing all songs requested. And also every singer will have a pre-defined plan of the songs to sing. This would be a big nuisance for them. Carnatic music unlike film music cannot to be very spontaneous. Because film music is defined and is pre-writte fully. Whereas, carnatic music has to be explored on every raga and is built on that imagination. So singers who come with preparation cannot deviate from the plan. Atleast I hope. But I am sure geniuses like M.S. Subbulakshmi and Maharajapuram Santanam can do their best to any song any time.
A day before this show was the turn of Bombay Jayashree aka Jayashree Ramnath in The Music Academy. Unlike Nithyashree, Jayashree doesn’t sing loudly or too fast. But she displays a class on her own. A very patient singer whose voice is pure magic and that is a major factor for her success. Many carnatic greats have called her a very mature singer. Not much of hulla-gulla happened in her show. She just tied her audience with her magical voice so not many were roaming around. Her song Sri Maha Sankaracharyam was the highlight of the day. But she wasn’t singing tamil songs at all for most part of the show which was one of the reason why public thinks Nithyashree is much better singer than Bombay Jayashree.
The Chennai Marghazhi Arts Festival isn’t over yet. One of the shows that I am looking for Actress Shobana‘s dance programme called Sampradhaya. Will write on it if get a chance to watch it.