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    Dedicating the season to the city and its resilient people, Margazhi stays on course—albeit with a few delays and drop outs

    The last few weeks have left us battered and in shock. And the last thing on our minds has been the December season of music and dance. While many artistes like Anita Ratnam and N Vijay Siva have cancelled their shows—with some dedicating time to rehabilitation work—others believe the show must go on. Like sisters Ranjani-Gayatri sisters. After helping with supplies such as blankets and clothes, they now plan on donating the remuneration for their concerts. “I don’t know if cancelling Margazhi will be a proactive gesture. So we thought we’d share our music for a good cause. The money (except the payment for our accompanists) will go for relief work,” says Gayatri. There has been a lot of reorganisation, too. Y Prabhu, the general secretary of Krishna Gana Sabha, says, “We have postponed our inauguration to December 20.” From concerts to Kanjeevarams, we bring you up to speed.

    The headliners

    Kadri Gopalnath: From rocking the BBC Promenade concert in London (1994) to playing AR Rahman’s compositions in the film Duet, he is known for his brilliant saxophone performances. He is at Fine Arts Festival of Mudhra. On December 24, at 6.15 pm, at Ramakrishna Mission School Campus. `100 onwards. Details: 28264493

    Aruna Sairam: The Padma Shri awardee is known for her deep tone and playful smile as she sings Maadu meikam kanne or Vishamakara kannan. Don’t miss her performance at Chennaiyil Thiruvaiyaru. On December 25, at 4.45 pm, at Kamarajar Arangam. `500 onwards. Details: lakshmansruthi.com/chennaiyil-thiruvaiyaru/index.asp

    Bala Devi Chandrashekar: A disciple of Padma Subrahmanyam, she is the artistic director of New Jersey-based Shree Padma Nrityam Academy of Performing Arts. Watch her explore the tumultuous life of the epic character Karna in the dance recital Karna – Destiny’s Child at Narada Gana Sabha. December 30, at 1.45 pm. Free entry. Details: 24993201

    Vishaka Hari: When she narrates the story of Prahalad (Vishnu’s devotee), punctuated with Thiyagarajar’s keertanais, the audience is often moved to tears. Her repertoire includes stories on Sudhama (Lord Krishna’s friend), Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and others. Drop into her Harikatha session on Panduranga, organised by Sri Parthasarathy Swami Sabha at Vidya Bharathi. On  December 25, at 10 am. Details: 24643420

    Rising stars

    Vishaal R Sapuram: This 24-year-old started taking vocal lessons from N Ravikiran, the celebrated chitraveena player, before  learning the instrument. Today, he is making a name for his compositions. Catch his concert at The Music Academy on December 31, at 11.45 am. Free entry. Details: 28112231

    Aravind Bhargav: Introduced to the mandolin at six, he learnt the instrument from U Srinivas and his brother U Rajesh. Performing since 2008, he has a few concerts lined up. Enjoy his music as part of the Trinity Arts Festival at Kumararani Meena Muthiah College on December 16. Free entry. Details: 24450923

    Sushma Somasekharan: The 28-year-old vocalist is originally from Singapore, but moved here to pursue music. Having trained under Bhagya Murthy and Lalitha Sivakumar, her pitch perfect notes will entertain you this season at The Music Academy. December 29, at 11.45 am. Free entry. Details: 28112231

    Canteen buzz

    * At the Music Academy, Padmanabhan Caterers revamps its menu every year. While N Padmanabhan is still putting the finishing touches,  he says rasikas can look forward to their famous filter coffee, kuzhi paniyarams and a wide variety of dosas. `25 onwards.

    * Meenambiga Caterers will add flavour to the music at Mylapore Fine Arts Club with a huge menu. K Baskaran, the proprietor who has been running the canteen for nearly 18 years, says this year people can look forward to “double decker (chutney-stuffed) idlis and flavoured (lemon, coconut and paruppu usuli) kozhakattais”. `40 onwards.

    * ‘Mount’ Mani Iyer’s Mountbatten Mani Marriage Catering Services has been filling tummies at Mylapore’s Sri Parthasarathy Swami Sabha for six years. “We’ll have vazhaipoo vadai made with pachai payiru (green gram dal) and millet (raga, kambu) dosas,” says Srinivasan Kulathumani, Iyer’s son. `70 onwards.

    Missing notes

    Bombay Jayashri: In the wake of the floods this vocalist and Oscar nominee, she has bowed out. “Chennai, which has always supported art, is now battling the aftermath of torrential rains. With so many people homeless and struggling for basic needs, I feel it is not the time for festivals,” she posted on Facebook.

    Sudha Raghunathan: Health reasons has this vocalist staying away. “I am truly going to miss singing for each one of you,” she  had posted on her website last month, adding that “after jumping from dais to dais for nearly 37 years, this is a good
    chance to listen to other artistes.”

    TM Krishna: Popular for his fluid gamakas and his frank opinions, he took social media by storm in June, when he announced he wouldn’t be performing this season.  He said the audience doesn’t want diverse artistes and described the music as “socially stifling”, dominated by the upper caste.

    Dress code

    * Aavaranaa, the sai boutique that is the wardrobe sponsors for the season and for artistes like Ranjani Santhanagopalan and Sushma Somasekharan, has launched Madras Musings. “The collection will have saris preferred by the artistes and new designs,” says Vijayalakshmi Krishna, managing partner. Details: 24988292
    * Tulsi Silks’ new collection of tussars, Benaras and Kanjeevaram saris pays tribute to the season with traditional patterns like the rudraksh and peacock, with double coloured borders. At Luz Church Road. Details: 24991086

    Hop on

    The Mylapore Express is back. Palam Silks’ contribution to the sabha-hopping experience, the bus will ply between their store (in Mylapore) and music venues within the locality, including Narada Gana Sabha and The Music Academy Between 11 am and 7 pm.
    Details: 9282444444

    App check

    Sraavyam: Initially a website, it was developed into an app. Started by vocalist Sikkil C Gurucharan, violinist V Sanjeev and mridangam artist Patri Satish Kumar, you can listen to concerts with it. Details: sraavyam.com

    Kutcheris: This mobile app lists all the classical concerts happening in the city. You can search for performances of your favourite artistes or browse for events near your place. Details: kutcheris.com

    Music Season: This straightforward app lets you browse for concerts based on dates, artistes, events (like a mandolin performance) and sabhas. Details: itunes.apple.com

    — Ranjitha G

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