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Jazzing up the season, the Ghatam Suresh way
CHENNAI, January 9: Ghatam V Suresh, a globally acclaimed multi-percussion artiste, presented a special jazz concert with his band “Clay n Drum India” for Sri Krishna Gana Sabha here on January 2.

The concert featured some of the best jazz musicians from the U.S. and Germany.

It was unique in the sense that the concert was held during the classical music season of Chennai. His guru Dr T. V. Gopalakrishnan and rheumatologist Dr. V. Krishnamurthy were among the audience.

Suresh is respected for his in-depth knowledge of Indian rhythm and technical excellence. Working along with his mentor Gopalakrishnan and Mridangam Vidwan Shri Karaikkudi Mani in world music and jazz genres besides Carnatic music for many decades has helped Suresh gain rich experience and knowledge of the global music systems. As a Ghatam artiste, he is known for his unique fingering techniques, sound modulation in robust solos and aesthetic accompaniment. A Master degree holder in Rhythmology, he runs Internet-based teaching classes and has a large student base across the globe.

The artistes on show that day were:
Ghatam V Suresh: Ghatam and multi-percussions (Tavil, Konnakkol and Djambe)
Ms Carola Grey (Germany): Drums and Vocal
Biju Paulose: Keyboard and arrangements
Aalaap Raju: Bass Guitar
Prasant Radhakrishnan: Saxophone
Mysore A. Chandankumar: Flute
V. Rajasekar: Mridangam
H Prasanna, Kolkata Somnath Roy, Chenganaserri Krishnakumar and Balaji Chandran: Ghatam
Special guest artistes on vocals: K. Krishnakumar, Binni Krishnakumar and Sriram Parthasarathy

Pieces rendered were:
  • Vaaranava, a traditional Mallari melody with philosophical lyrics on Lord Ganesha by Suresh, sung by Sriram Parthasarathy with tavil accompaniment by Suresh.

  • MADRAZZ, a Jazz composition of Carola Grey, as a tribute to the music and cultural traditions of Chennai based on Mayamalava Gowla raga. The singers were Binni Krishnakumar and Krishnakumar.

  • MRITHIKA VAIBHAVAM, a tribute to the divine clay pot percussion instrument. All intricate techniques were exhibited in four different tempos of Chatusram, Kandam, Tisram and Misram by Suresh with his senior students from north and South India.

  • POT TALK, a jazz piece jointly composed by Carola Grey and Suresh in raga Sudda Pangala sung by Sriram Parthasarathy.

  • DRUMS SOLO by Carola Grey in typical Jazz tradition.

  • PAATINAIPPOL INBAM PAARINMISAI ILLAYADA, excerpts from poet Bharathiyar's “kuyil pattu” glorifying the music, set in folk tune.

  • Freeway, all instrumental jazz composition by Suresh.

  • MadchicksFly, a jazz composition of Carola Grey based on Raga Karaharapriya sung by Krishnakumar and Binni Krishnakumar.
It was a new experience. Aesthetic rhythms, Indian ragas, Western harmonics and free style improvisation – a rich treat for the eyes and ears indeed!

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