A few weeks ago, my husband and I had gone to the Ra Ga concert at Aurora Temple. While driving back home, we were discussing as to how to derive the maximum out of a live concert experience. One of the things we came to a conclusion was unless we know how to see things in a live gig, we are just paying lip service to this whole 'attending concerts' idea.
Here are some of the obvious things we see when we attend a live gig.
1. Content - What are they singing/playing/performing.
2. Techniques - Their competencies and skills in executing the mechanics behind the content.
3. Aesthetics - What additional thing have they added to make it their own a.k.a. signature.
However, if we are only seeing these, a concert may seem like it’s a mere display of someone’s talent. It just goes on to show that the performers are better and different than us. As an audience member, we don't learn anything out of it, and that puts us into the category of mere voyeurs.
Therefore, we must learn to see some of the non-obvious yet significant things as well such as:
1. The years of boringly consistent and disciplined hard work in honing the craft.
2. The undivided focus on improving the craft and the skills amidst so many distractions that the external world offers.
3. Resisting temptations in the form of maintaining voice control, talking less, and dietary restrictions that must have made them a laughing stock at many an occasion.
4. Facing numerous rejections and criticisms over the years, that must have crushed their spirits.
5. And, lastly and most importantly, being vulnerable enough to put a piece of themselves out there in front of the world.
Thus, the point of going to live concerts must be to learn something out of it that could be put into actionable insights for our personal growth as a musician and as an artist.
On that note, here is a small description of the Ra Ga concert at Aurora temple, as per one of the fans posted on their Facebook page timeline. I am copying the excerpt below as I felt the description to be pretty accurate.
The concert blossomed with divinity in Shanmugapriya " Siddhivinayakam". Felt the presence of prasiddha Ganapathi with the swara garland
Sri Annamaiyya's "Indira naamamu" was beautifully rendered in Mohanam.
The listeners were taken to Kaveri Theeram ( banks of Kaveri) in their fabulous Raju vedala Kriti in Todi raga. The raga alapana, neraval and kalpanaswaras were truly enjoyable throughout.
Why wouldn't the lord become compassionate after the soul stirring rendering of "Chittham irangaadhadeynaiyya" in lovely Sahana?
Sri Shyama Sastrigal and his ishta Devi Kamakshi were musically glorified in flawless Madhyamavathi by the wonderful sisters, the violinist and the Mridangist. The Thani avarthanam on the mridangam was an absolute rhythmic treat.
The swift rhythmic play enthralled the audience more in Sarasa saama dhaana which followed Paalimchu kamakshi Kriti.
An RTP in Behag? Unbelievably mesmerizing. Sri Purandaradasa's "Harismaraney maado niranthara, paragathigey idhu nirdhaara"(chant Hari's name always, that is the only way for attaining salvation) was described in a transcendental way intertwining more soothing ragas Ritigowla, Brindavani and a special Dwi-madhyama, Panchama varja raga SURYASHRI. The Behag Alapana literally made me and most of the audience cry.
A Ragamalika Virutham in Thamizh in praise of Lord Venkateshwara as a prelude to Srinivasa thiruvenkatamudayai Kriti was commendable.
Two wonderfully soothing melodies - Hey Govinda Hey Gopala and an Abhang Maja Hari Vittala, composed by the sisters themselves were exemplarily rendered with ease.
The concert concluded with the traditional Pavamana suthudu pattu - mangalam of Sri Tyagaraja.
Violinist Rajeev and Mridangist Sai Giridhara seem to be greatly talented and are well versed in both aptly accompanying and portraying their dexterity in their solos.
All four artists are truly blessed and special thanks to the organizers Balaji Cultural Committee, RR International and Rajaveena School of music for giving us this wonderful opportunity to listen to this truly mesmerizing concert.
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