Renowned Indian composer, A.R. Rahman, once said that music is all about transporting people, as it speaks a language that no language is able to articulate. Indeed, no word can describe, “By the Light of the Moon”, a contemporary take on Carnatic compositions which were presented by six performers. The event, organised by Ipoh Fine Arts Society was held on Saturday, March 24 at Le View, Syeun Hotel Ipoh commencing at 8pm.
Indian classical music is known to be divine in its origin, some evolving from poems that focused on the powers of gods. These poems are known as Mahabharata and Ramayana. In the twelfth century, it evolved into Hindustani music which had notable influences from Persian, Islamic, Arabic and Carnatic music where most compositions are written to be sung and played on instruments. Carnatic music embodies composition and singing with emphasis on meaning and emotions.
The six were Chitra Poornima Sathish (vocal), Sridhar Gopalaraman (flute), Pangasaasanii Gowrisan (violin), Eliezer Enan (guitar), husband-and-wife team, Prakash Kandasamy (tabla) and Jyotsna Prakash (piano). They presented 11 mellifluous compositions, leaving the over 200-audience moonstruck. Each rendition had its own significance, as it alluded to the moon.
Some of the minimal, yet lyrical verses in the renditions include phrases like, “She who created starlight, she who created space, she who created wind, dances as the joy in our hearts”, “Her eyes trembled the moon” and “No lack, no worries, as long as you are there with me”. One of the renditions was about Lord Krishna, who is described as a saviour and protector of the world but still remains a little boy in the eyes of his mother.
“I’ve known Chitra since she was small. We all had the same guru who saw her as a little girl with such impeccable talent, so he sent her to India to learn with Bombay Jayashri, Academy-Award nominated Carnatic music vocalist and composer. ‘Poornima’ means full moon and she has definitely grown to be one. We’ve always wanted to work something out together, and finally managed to pull this through tonight,” said pianist Jyotsna Prakash, who also directed the performance.
“We wanted to perform something that everybody could resonate with. As most people are familiar with the original pieces we performed, it was easier to improvise a little so people would notice the differences. Some pieces were really orchestrated, some were more subtle. We tried to connect everything to the moon. Most of the songs indicate longing and the Krishna factor in the songs are where the seeker looks for the ultimate,” she added.
Jyotsna also remarked that they did not intend to do most songs on Lord Krishna, it so happened that the vibes they were looking for were prominent in songs based on Lord Krishna.
Formulating the show took them about a year. The process of getting songs and practising took around two to three months. Chitra’s vocals combined so well with the essence of each instrument played, it was indeed a magical performance.
“They gave the credit to me but in reality, it wasn’t just me, it was our hearts and souls that were in play tonight,” Jyotsna concluded.