Monday, July 14, 2008

Sudha Raghunathan sizzles again in Bay Area




SIFA is Bay Area's leading organization that promotes South Indian classical music, both vocal and instrumental music and also classical dance Bharathnatyam. Thanks to the SIFA committee and volunteers who manage to bring great artists from India every year during the summer season to perform for the huge desi population.

Sudha Ragunathan, one of the leading singers of Carnatic music, performed at the India Communicy Center auditorium in Milpitas last evening. The concert scheduled to start at 4:00, began at 4:30 and the crowd that thronged the entrance to the hall with the packed parking lot was an indicator of Sudha's popularity in the Bay Area. It has become a tradition to have Sudha sing in the Bay Area every year. She started off with a Jalajakshi varnam that proceeded with an invocation to Lord Ganesha. A unique feature in Sudha's concerts are that she provides a brief introduction on the song that she is about to render in her meliflous English. She also took the opportunity to welcome the Bay Area audience. I wouldn't want to forget to mention the fact that Sudha's jewellery and traditional pattu sarees add more beauty to the concert. I've always loved the accessories that she wears and found that her website has a tab dedicated to her wardrobe collection of sarees, must check out-
http://www.sudharagunathan.com/photogal_view.asp?PGID=3


She sang and she sang alapanai after alapanai with the clock ticking away and it was almost 7:30 (she had sung for 3 hours). Meanwhile, requests for favorite renditions from the audience started coming to the stage and with her pleasing smile, Sudha said that she would either sing Ragam Tanam Pallavi (RTP) or change the course of the concert with the audience requests. While, the RTP calls were heard louder than the others, she proceeded to dedicate a 45 minute to prove her skill and musical prowess.

While, I have a strong preference to hear more kritis and thukdas sung in the latter half of a good kutcheri, I guess it was hard for me to sit through the elaborate RTP, while I kept thinking how many beautiful thukdas she could have sung. After RTP, she moved on to Marukelara, Kanda Naal Mudhal, Vishamakara Kannan, Brahmam Okate (that had the audience clapping their hands), Chinnan Chiru Kileye Kanamma etc. I loved the tamil songs, expecially the new ones that she sang with so much spirit.

I had to leave towards the end of the concert during the Vote of Thanks, since didn't want to get caught in the crowds trying to pull out of the parking lot after the concert. But, even then, it lasted for 4 hours. I don't think that kutcheris in Chennai are sung this long, but, given that this is a once in a year opportunity, Sudha truly sang for her fans.

On the drive back home, memories of concerts that I used to go with my dad in Krishna Gana Sabha and Vani Manal during my school and college years came back and how I wish I could spare the time or turn the clock to relive those days again.

17 comments:

Me said...

Without knowing who she was, I once had an opportunity to talk to her. She was very humble and spoke really well...Only after coming home I saw her on TV and realized who she was..

Laavanya said...

That sounds like a fabulous concert.. thanks for reminding me of Marukelera - love that. It's been so long since I sung anything.. and it reminded me of how much I was missing.

Priya said...

I totally adore her voice, she is my favorite carnatic singer. Like 'me' has said, she is very humble. She performed at our University in 2006 and we got to spend sometime with her before the concert. She was kindal adichufying her violinist and tabla artist and everyone else whom she could spot :))
And she never tires too! Her flight got delayed by a few hrs that day, the concert started at around 5 and she sang for 4 hrs! We had to plead with her to stop because we could feel our throats dry up and hurt, she said okay, sang 2 more audience requests and then bowed!

Cham said...

I think i missed her concert :( I love live concert :) I imagine the crowd, we got struck in traffic and crowd for fireworks in same place :)
Hope it was a pleasant evening for u...

Rajitha said...

oh how i wish i were in the bay area and my amma would be here..she absolutely loves carnatic music..in hyd. keys high school has a yearly saga of this..and she makes it a point to go..even tho it is far from our house...btw. i am off to check out the saree collection...and thnks for the blog-roll...will do the same :)

Usha said...

Sudha is one of my favorites,sounds like you had a great time....

mitr_bayarea said...

me- Aaha, interesting episode...

Laavanya- yes, hearing such songs brings back memories..

Priya-Thanks for sharing that information, yes, she definitely tries to please her audience and doesn't show any strain in her voice.

Cham- yes, traffic in Milpitas at such times can be bad, luckily, I left a few minutes before the end of the concert.

Rajitha- yes, living in the Bay area has lots of perks. Welcome again.

Usha- welcome to my blog...it was a great concert.

na_an said...

yeah..she does have a great fan following..looks like you really enjoyed the performance. We are lucky to be in Bay area to enjoy all this...

flyingstars said...

Doesn't it really feel nice to experience our culture when we are away from home & I have also attended few of these programs away from home & it provides a different kind of feeling to the mind everytime & would eagerly wait for the next event...seems you have enjoyed a wonderful concert...have a nice time!

Krishnan said...

Though I am totally Carnatic-illiterate, I cant but appreciate the mellifluous quality of Sudha Raghunathan's voice and love her Tamizh songs very much. She is a singer par excellence.

Jayashree said...

Am a big Sudha Ragunathan fan.....the sabhas here get booked so early on it is hard to get good seats unless you are a member....

mitr_bayarea said...

Na_an and flying stars- yes, it sure is a nice feeling attending these kind of cultural events even though we are far away from home.

Krishnan-yes, the tamil songs are really very good.

Jayashree- I know how hard it is in Chennai to get good seats for these concerts, unless you are a sabha member.

Spillay said...

Sounds like you had an enjoyable evening! Good on you!

Sireesha said...

I Am a big fan of Sudha Ragunathan ....,sounds like u had a great time...

AJEYA RAO said...

Very Nice...She looks very traditional and filled with music. I wish i could hear the live concert of hers some time.

mitr_bayarea said...

Spillay and Sireeshaa- yes, it was indeed an enjoyable evening of carnatic music.

Ajeya-you should hear her sing when you get a chance.

Madhuram said...

She is my favorite too. If you get a chance listen to her Alaipayudhe Album in Raaga.com. It's a wonderful collection of songs on Lord Krishna.