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Coming together for a musical dialogue

Sruthi Krishnan

‘Ey Aa O!’ blended folk arts from different parts of country

— PHOTO: M.VEDHAN

IN HARMONY: A.R. Rahman (right) and Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi at the launch of the DVD ‘Ey Aa O!’ in Chennai on Sunday.

CHENNAI: The eight-beat rhythm was the undercurrent uniting folk arts of different parts of the country in Joint Family Production’s ‘Ey Aa O!’

The performance was presided over by Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi and music director A.R. Rahman. This production had its genesis in Tamil Maiyam’s Chennai Sangamam, a platform where various art forms came together.

Conceived by Elango Kumaravel, one of the founder members of Magic Lantern, and Paul Jacob, creator of the label Bodhimuzzik, ‘Ey Aa O!’ brought together diverse musical voices who, while retaining their original forms, blended together to produce a dazzling orchestra.

Traditional Warli art and hand-painted representations of the folk arts were painted on the banners that nudged each other, providing a backdrop that fused browns, greens and reds to produce a rustic effect. This set was designed by Kadirr, an award winning art director.

The evening began with percussion. Hand-held drums and the ‘thappu’ sounds resonated in perfect harmony.

Both the sounds were distinct, yet the rhythm came forth in unison. Soon, the musical instruments joined, providing a layer of melody; Carnatic ragas from the dilruba and the violin.

The combination of Raju Das from West Bengal, a musical minstrel with Chinnaponnu, a Tamil folk singer, drew enthusiastic whistles from the audience.

The rhythmic background by the percussionists continued unabated.

The crowd went wild when Mukthiyar Ali, a Rajasthani singer from the Marfat community, performed ‘Nimbuda nimbuda,’ accompanied by nagaswaram and thavil artists.

The swirling dancers, moving to the pounding beats, caused every foot in the audience to tap alongside.

Though many of the artists had not seen Chennai, they know China, said Ms. Kanimozhi, referring to the recent trip of the troupe to China. The DVD of “EyAaO!” was launched by Mr.Rahman.

The experience proved to be “a dialogue between people’s art forms,” as Fr. Jegath Casper from Tamil Maiyam said it would be.

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