Sunday, September 7, 2008
We attended an incredible carnatic vocal concert by Ranjani and Gayatri this evening. The sisters originally started out as concert violinists, and transitioned into vocal performances in '97. The concert was absolutely amazing! Their voices are incredibly sweet and their modulation when they hit higher notes was superb.
I am not classically trained, so I can't go into details about their rendition. But they are one of my favorite vocalists now. They finished the concert with a couple of hindustani pieces which were perfect. I could listen to them all day!
They were accompanied by H.N. Bhaskar on the Violin and Delhi Sriram on the Mridangam.
At one point though, Ranjani stopped singing - while she was exploring the nuances of a raaga, because of the amount of disturbance in the auditorium! We were amazed at how chaotic the first half was, with noise and movement.
Carnatic music concerts are special because of their informal air, and because the audience is able to interact with the artistes, passing along requests etc. The artistes enjoy this as well, but while this can be a strength, it could also lead to people feeling too relaxed to the point of being inconsiderate.
So what's the worst you have experienced in a concert? Here's my list.
1. People (sitting next to you) humming tonelessly with the artistes.
2. People walking in and out between pieces, allowing the doors to BANG shut!
3. Children walking about wearing loud anklets - anklets are cute on kids, but this is not where you want to hear them - not their fault; parents need to watch for this!
4. Parents bringing along lap-sized DVD players for their kids, so that the flickering screen with cartoon characters next to you distracts you for the whole concert - esply if it's a packed concert and you can't move.
5. Small children cannot be expected to sit still and silent for over 3 hours. So parents shouldn't expect them to! They should get a baby-sitter, or they should leave as soon as the kids start to lose interest and fuss. We did see some kids there though who were totally absorbed and enjoyed the music - so parents need to be able to gauge their kids' interest.
6. People treat the solo pieces by the mridangam or violin artistes as their chance to take a break and go to the bathroom!! This is so rude. This evening the mridangam artiste was a very young man, on his first concert tour outside India, and he was incredible! He was looking around at people strolling out as he played his solo piece, and I felt so bad! This kid was really good too.
Despite all these disturbances, the concert was absolutely phenomenal. They are performing in Dallas next weekend, and we are tempted to drive over there too!