The MET department predicted snow fall and rain for the Saturday.. in New Jersey.. But they perhaps missed out on another small detail.
All it rained was numerous mesmerizing melodies of the Music Legend Ilaiyaraaja..
It may have taken a bit longer.. Over three decades in this case..
But finally when it happened on 23rd Feb, it turned out to be the grandest and most satisfying musical spectacle of them all..
Maestro Ilaiyaraja finally held his marathon maiden concert in North America at the Prudential center, New Jersey. The concert went on for full FIVE uninterrupted hours of pure music.
The maestro started the concert by invoking the Supreme Goddess with his divine ‘Janani Janani’ song, before paying tribute to Lord Shiva with his ‘Om Shivoham’ followed by the haunting ‘Jagadananda Kaaraka’ from Sri Rama Rajyam.
Then he took the packed house of music lovers at the prudential center on a memorable musical roller coaster with his rustic, folk, western, fusion, classical tunes that left them asking for more. The vibrancy and range of his oeuvre was on magnificent display. Infusing life into his immaculate compositions were some of the greatest singing talents from India.. Dr.S.P. Balasubramaniam, K.S.Chitra, Mano, Karthik, Yuvan Shankar Raaja, Geetha Madhuri, Karthik Raaja, Bhavatharani, Swetha Menon to name a few.
Be it the quite melody of Mounamelanoyi.. from Sagara sangamam or the naughty ‘balapam patti bhama vallo’, or the cheeky ‘botany clasu undi..’ From Shiva.. or the chart busting Orambo… the nostalgic and highly energetic ‘sorgame endraalum’ or the heart rending ‘prema entha madhuram’ , the die-hard romantic ‘ennodu va va ‘ from Eto vellipoyindi manasu.. or the poignant melody from the classic Nayagan as the signing off song.. the Maestro evoked memories that the crowds dearly cherished, relished and relived.
The Prudential center was just the perfect setting for the Maestro’s maiden concert. Excellent acoustics, sound and light, comfortable seating and thoroughly professional ground staff, be it the usher men, the security or the Administration and their clockwork precision, the concert was in every sense in the league of an international music show.
The fact that a concert of this scale translated into reality from an idea, in a span of just 25 days, stands testimony to the capabilities of the organizing team.
The concert in total has set a standard for South Indian entertainment events which will be hard to match in near future. And the organizers iDream Media who took a giant leap with this event , thanks each and every one who contributed to the successful conduct of the concert. In more than one way, the concert was perhaps just meant to be!
In a press meet prior to the concert, the Maestro quipped, I don’t have much to say.. only my music speaks. It indeed did.. And how !!
Post Script: At the P.F. Chang restaurant in downtown New Jersey a day after the Concert, the Maestro was having a relaxed sit down lunch.. along with his army of 18 wondrous and irrepressible singing talents..
And then Raaja Sir rather casually asked one of them to sing.. Sing any song that came to mind.. so it started with Priyadarshini, the talented young singer.. but her flawless singing.. as if she were still in the concert, suddenly made every one attentive.. Not just the ones in the group on his table.. But scores of other patrons in the restaurant on the other tables.. Americans most of them.. and then the rest of the Raaja sir’s army including Vasu, Senthil, Karthikraaja, Bhavatharani, Anitha, Priya Hemesh, Sam, and so on, started singing in turns.. it turned out to be a full blown music session.. No orchestra was needed.. No microphones.. no amplifiers.. No nothing.. Just the presence of the musical genius that is Raaja Sir.. Inspiring them.. Guiding them.. Goading them.. Bringing the best out of them.. as he always does. It was as if they were singing unto themselves.. Just for the sheer joy of singing.. and by the end of it.. it was a state of bliss for all present.. The Americans on the neighboring tables were delighted beyond words.. They quickly reached out to the table from where the music emanated.. And became aware of Raaja sir.. They were mighty thrilled at this surprise packet in store for them that afternoon.. for they never paid or could never pay P.F. Chang for this unexpected, invaluable reward.. they requested Raaja Sir to visit them..
Just moments before they were strangers.. oblivious of Raaja Sir.. and just moments later.. they feel the bonding… as if they had known him for ages… it never mattered that the songs were sung in a language alien to them.. That they could understand little of it.. what mattered was that they could connect with his music.
More bonds have been tied.. More barriers breached.. Through the musical genius of Raaja Sir.. As always.. His magic continues..