Sunday, July 17, 2011
Tara'sri' is part of Sunaad in Benagluru
As one can guess, the task of putting together a program of this dimension is monumental and with actors participating in addition to the singers, it would be real hard work. I can vouch for it as Tarasri has been practically missing the last two weeks! I can imagine about the others as many also went to Bhopal for practice and a number of them live far from the venues of practice. If you read the flyer about 'How did it all come together' (I hope they will publish it in their website), you will understand how complex was the process!
It was fortuitous for Sunaad that Gundecha brothers offered to compose music for them. I was even fortunate to attend their practice session with Ramakanthji in Bangalore . An experience I cherish and also the opportunity to meet the gracious brothers again having met them in Bangkok. Nice of Taraki to let me listen in.
Sri M whose autobiography is a fascinating read, spoke to Sunaadians about the story of Nachiketa and especially about the 45 slokas which were chosen for this swar katha. Again it was lucky that I could attend one of the very thought provoking lectures by Sri M.
The more I thought about the program my only concern was, will they pull it off? They did and how!
The fact that there were 29 participants and they switched from one group of singers to another, instruments and actors came in and out seamlessly without a baton waving conductor was impressive and actors spoke without the support of a prompter. It was as if everyone knew how the whole program went and that could come only by practice and more practice.
There were a number of wonderful reactions and I borrow a few from their site.
Absolutely a super evening - thanks for your invitation, and remembering me. Besides the excellent and unique presentation, I was delighted to catch-up with many old friends whom I had not been in touch for years. My comments are best expressed in my e-mail to Vivek, as below:
Last evening Sudha had invited me to her music group "Sunaad's" unique and superb presentation of "Swar Katha Upanishad". I attended it with Vasanthi, at a very special auditorium 'Jagriti' at Whitefield. Sudha was participating as one of the singers, under the guidance of their charismatic and enthusiastic guru Tara Kini. This was a very unique interpretation of Katha Upanishad with Dhrupad music in a very contemporary style, with the recounting of the story and philosophy of life and death (in English) narrated by Yama to Nachiketa, whom his father had dedicated to him, interspaced with Drupad rendition of the Slokas by the singers (in Sanskrit). I must confess that the music was so soothing that really put us in a trance! To it, was added the most powerful interpretation of the life and death philosophy by Yama, excellently crafted. They succeeded in conveying what they had stated in their own words: "... the realization that the Katha Upanishad is not about death, but about life, about living."
I am sure the next performances will be equally great. Keep it up....
With love, Uncle Ashit
Ashit K Sarkar
....anyway it was a memorable evening and a wonderful opening to Sunaad's most ambitious project yet. A lot of people I did not know, too came up to me and were extremely appreciative.
Ramakantji said that he did have a few misgivings about a largish group like us pulling it off, but was proved wrong and said that we sounded very "professional". Thank you Tara and All.
I think feeling it made all the difference.
Good luck for the rest of the days!
Srinidhi felt that we all deserved a standing ovation. ( They did the next day!) Geeta Hegde was amazed by the clarity of the voices and highly appreciated the choice of ragas. She said that we had maintained the sur and of course praised our adorable Nishant. The Hegdes' were very happy to have been there for the show as they had no clue about what to expect and were pleasently surprised by the way the program was packaged. I also think that the warm up and silence till the
start of the show helped maintain our focus.
With Pranams and warmest greetings to our guru, Tara Ki for Guru Pournima.
A Huge Congrats to everyone who starred today!!
Ramakanthji told us that our sur was indeed perfect.
Best of Luck for tomorrow, in the hope that by the time we finish all these shows, we will have realized the self. (just kidding)
The Sunday show:
While the first day was very good, I could perceive a little bit of tension in the performers. The Sunday show went amazingly well. I guess, as Nishant hoped, they all had realized that, if not the self, they had jelled well as a group and gave a splendid show!
I had asked Tarasri what she thought was the defining moment. I suppose it is difficult to say as there was so much one could choose from. It was the play- the acting, the costumes, the setting and so on for the drama buff; the clarity of the sloka for the sanskrit scholar and purity of the swara for the lover of music.
It is best I quote Tara Kini:
Dear SKU team
I think we were all in a different world the whole of the last week -rising, rushing through morning chores, including getting the costumes ironed, packing for the afternoon and rushing to Jagriti. Then it was a well-oiled flow from snack to changing to warm up to silence and then performance!
The response of the audience and the packed theatre on all four days has been quite heady! I for one, never imagined, that such a serious theme, with such deeply classical music would be so popular. It makes me re-think the meaning of the word popular! We normally think of it as Pop culture. But what appeals to many is true excellence in any field. That to me is a discovery.
The fact that a group of non-professional musicians with perhaps very little experience in theatre, could render a show like SKU that became 'popular' because the quality was high, as certified in all sincerity by some of the musical greats who were there and the seasoned theatre people we worked with, is a discovery.The discovery that complete and focused engagement leads to the development of all that lies surging within each of us, waiting to be ignited! I want to thank each of you for that complete and focused engagement that made this whole project so thoroughly enjoyable.
and I also quote this:-)
we are resuming regular Sunaad this Saturday - July 23rd - at 7 am - we will start exploring the Ragas we sang in SKU - in greater depth!
See you for sure!
I did not take any pictures during the show as Tara kept reminding me about 'No photos and Videos' during the show. But here are a few before and after the show.
Those keen to see more could go on to their website and buy the DVD when it is released!
As I wait for our friends to arrive I looked around the foyer.