Isai Payanam – a musical journey with ‘East Meets West’ as the theme immersed the capacity audience with melody and spirit of unity at the Auckland Normal Intermediate School on February 21.
Organised by Nadesan Nanthakumar in aid of the New Zealand Thirumurugan Temple Society, the event had the support of East Tamaki Healthcare, Kulan Kokulan, Dr Selva Selvakumar, Dr Vallipuram Sivakumar, Suren Surendran and members of the Indian Sub-Continent community in general and Tamilians in particular.
The Concert commenced with a prayer followed by a great orchestral ensemble led by Geerthana Nanthakumar on violin and was well supported by drums, Ghatam and keyboards.
The three Nanthakumar sisters Geerthana, Divya and Manisha performed on the Violin together, individually, and accompanying vocalists with great professionalism and support. Their hands were electric like with some of the songs they played with precision and speed.
Songs interludes were well covered by Geerthana and Divya on keyboards and they received tremendous applauses for their efforts.
The songs, in Tamil, Telugu, English and Hindi, ranged from classical music to the contemporary Western style songs.
Notable among them were ‘Raguvamsa Sudha’ (by Saint Thyagaraja) rendered by Pavan Mani and Pancharatna Keerthanam ‘Jagadanandatharaka’ by Vishalini Gunadas supported by Avinash Jeyashankar with Western and Eastern fusion of instruments.
There were old classics like ‘Omkara Nadanu’ (from the Telugu original ‘Shankarabharanam’ and ‘Idhayam’ (Kochadaiyaan) performed by brother-sister duo Meerah and Rama Yogakumar presented with great professionalism.
Vishnupriya and Balu Mallela, another siblings-duo performed a beautiful Hindustani classical with the students of Sangeetha Bharathi School of Music and received wide applause.
Sisters Roman and Pooja Nory received similar response for their ‘Humma Humma,’ (Bombay)
The father-daughter combination also worked well. Surendran and Sivani presented ‘Partha Nabagam Illayo’ (‘Puthiya Paravai’) while Seran Ramanathan and Varranthi Vignakumar rendered ‘Pookal Pookum Tharunam’ (‘Madraspattinam’) to the appreciation of music lovers.
Intrinsic complex beat rhythms by Alexshana Sivarajah (‘Pattathu Rani Parkkum Parvai’ from ‘Sivantha Mann’), Gaarunyaa Uthayakumar (‘Thom Karuvil Irunthom’ from ‘Star’) and Thulasi Kandakumar (‘Azhagu Malar Aada’ from ‘Vaidehi Kathirunthal’) were ably accompanied by Balu Mallela on Mridangam and Basant Madhur on Tabla with other members of the Orchestra.
Master of Ceremonies Anusha Suresh dedicated ‘Mera Saya Saath Hoga’ (a Lata Mangeshkar hit from ‘Mera Saya’) to her mother.
Vindhya Suresh Ramachandra was very impressive on the Veena.
‘Manapennin Sathiyam’ from ‘Kochadaiyaan,’ a solemn song by Ahranni Sivakumar, ‘Azhagu’ from ‘Saivam’ by Akshaya Pushparaja and Kurukku Chiruththavale from ‘Mudalvan’ by Subbarna Sivaraja were great solos.
‘Varaha Nadikkarai Oram,’ a nostalgic folk song by Kaviya Balaraman from ‘Sangamam’ was well harmonised with Western and Eastern instruments.
Synthia Shivakumar was superb with her rendition of ‘My Heart will go on’ the theme song from Titanic.
Arumugarajah Yogakumar managed the sound system efficiently.
The supporting live orchestra comprised Geerthana Nanthakumar, Divya Nanthakumar, Manisha Nanthakumar (all Keyboard and Violin), Madhan Mohan (Keyboard), Joseph Alexander (Electronic Drums), Joscel Alexander (Acoustic Drums), Antony Yempee (Lead Guitar), Diya Yempee (Rhythm Guitar), Shivam Padayachi (Bass Guitar), Basant Madhur (Tabla), Vindhya Suresh Ramachandra (Veena) and Balu Mallela (Mridangam and Ghatam).
Geerthana and Divya played fast numbers including ‘Kutti Pisasae’ (‘Kaalai’) and Naaka Mukka (‘Kadhalil Vizhunden’) on violin and followed by ‘Aaja Aaja, Tu He Pyaar Mera’ (‘Teesri Manzil’) and ‘Mere Sapnon Ki Rani’ (‘Aradhana’)
Mr Nanthakumar said that the songs selected this year were in line with the theme of ‘East Meets West.’
“All these songs were musically challenging and demanded all singers and instrumentalists to spend additional time and effort. I am grateful to all of them for their wholehearted commitment and superb performance,” he said.
On the following day (February 22), Mr Nanthakumar handed over $4600 collected through ticket sales to Kumar Kumarasamy, President of the New Zealand Thirumurugan Temple Society. The money will be used for the new Temple located at 145 Church Street in Otahuhu as reported in our past three issues.
Mr Nanthakumar’s family worked tirelessly with other participants over the school holidays and summer to produce this wonderful musical journey.
His youngest daughter Manisha announced the Fourth Musical Journey will be on Saturday, February 27, 2016.