A different beat

Updated: Jan 17, 2020, 09:12 IST | Prachi Sibal | Mumbai

A fusion performance explores the mridangam in classical and contemporary contexts

Ta Dhom Project
Ta Dhom Project

Two musicians, a producer and a space artist, believe that the mridangam deserves its day in the sun. In fact, it deserves an entire festival unto itself. And that is what MridangaMela hopes to do later this year. Today, the idea gets launched with two opening performances, by rap collective Ta Dhom Project and Dvita - Dual Elements, a duet of the mridangam with the classical violin by Anantha R Krishnan and Charumathi Raghuraman.

The brainchild of musician and composer Viveick Rajagopalan, Ta Dhoom Project juxtaposes Carnatic classical vocal percussion konakkol with multi-lingual street rap. Talking about the idea, Rajagopalan says, "Konakkol, the vocal percussion form has been around forever. I used to use it to make rappers understand beats better".

The second act will bring ancient rhythmic compositions (dating back a hundred years) to the fore in contemporary form. Also part of the show will be a mridangam-inspired art installation by space artist Kunal Naik. "We want the festival to be a confluence of music and art," says KG Ramnarayan, co-producer, MridangaMela. In the end, all the artists will perform together in a finale.

Charumathi Raghuraman and Anantha R KrishnanCharumathi Raghuraman and Anantha R Krishnan

Chennai-based Krishnan and Rajagopalan, Ramnarayan and Naik (all Mumbai-based) had approached Royal Opera House with the concept. "I was excited to hear about it and thought it would excite others too," says Asad Laljee, CEO, Avid Learning and curator, Royal Opera House who also admits that the mridangam hardly receives the place of pride it deserves. Ramnarayan echoes the sentiment, in saying "Though it is one of the oldest rhythmic instruments in the country, it isn't as popular as the tabla. We want to celebrate it by bringing it out in a more palatable form."

On January 17, 7 pm
At Royal Opera House, Matthew Road, Girgaum.
Call 23668888
Log on to insider.in
Cost Rs 300

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