As musicians retire from the sabhas, five percussion artistes are getting ready to perform at an unusual venue—Kingsley, the jewellery boutique on Spurtank Road. Vikku Vinayakram’s Ensemble will take the stage at an event that will see the launch of the journal, Jottings & Portraits, a kanjeevaram initiative by the Kanakavalli brand.
Late last year, founder and designer Ahalya S had invited women in the city to have their pictures clicked wearing a kanjeevaram sari that they associated with a fond memory. From celebrities to housewives, scores turned up to celebrate the iconic silk sari. “The kanjeevaram is an inclusive garment. Everyone owns at least one and they are often handed down from mother to daughter—a shared legacy,” begins Ahalya, adding, “Around 50 photographs—which includes 15 portraits of well-known personalities—have been included in the journal, which we hope to make an annual print.”
Follow the beat
A lover of percussion, the designer has roped in the legendary ghatam player to launch the event, which will also have Bharatnatyam dancer Alarmel Valli as the guest of honour. “The 75-minute performance will move between traditional and contemporary beats,” explains Vikku Vinayakram, adding, “We have taken slokas from the Tevaram (the first seven volumes of the Tirumurai, the collection of Tamil Saiva devotional poetry) and other Tamil poets—which are usually sung like a virutham—and put them into a rhythmic arrangement for the ghatam.”
However, the highlight will be their exploration of the half beats. “Beats like the seven-and-a-half and eight-and-a-half are drawn from western music, but surprisingly the shlokas fit easily into them, making the final sound very modern,” states the Grammy award-winner.
The ensemble—which includes Vinayakram on chatur ghatam, grandson Swaminathan Selvaganesh on the kanjeera and konakkol, V Rajashekar on mridangam, N Rajaraman on gethu vadhyam and A Ganesan on morsing—also plans to include the audience in their music. “We will teach them some taala, get them to clap at equal intervals with me playing along. We will also play rhythm games, so they will have fun,” smiles says Vinayakram, who is working on a new album—featuring several greats from the music industry—which he will launch on his 74th birthday, in August.
January 9, at 6.30 pm, at Kingsley, Spurtank Road. The journals will be distributed at the event, and later at the store. Details: 9840792782
—Surya Praphulla Kumar