Violins for peace..

2011 is already on a song. Its hardly a week into it and I have already attended a concert and has another three scheduled over the next one month or so! Don't think I can complain even in my worst nightmares. Apart from the Bryan Adams one in Feb, every other looks pretty offbeat and interesting as well. 'Violins for Peace' last Thursday wasn't any different either. It was this year's edition of the Lakshminarayana Global Music Festival(LGMF) featuring violinists and fiddlers from different parts of the world. LGMF is organised by Dr. L Subramaniam in the memory of his father and Guru Prof. Lakshminarayana.

I reached the venue just in time and wasn't surprised to see that the hall is packed and the organizers had ran out of passes. There were quite a few people waiting outside the entrance, including some very elderly folks. After some persuasion, the organizers finally allowed us to enter and occupy the floor. This seating arrangement was in fact much comfortable than the chairs, as I could stretch my legs and lean on to the wall. The only trouble was that I couldn't see one half of the stage for quite some time as there were people standing around blocking the view. But the experience was well worth the trouble!

- There was an old lady (must be in her eighties) sitting next to me, wearing a fine silk Saree, holding a walking stick in one hand and tapping enthusiastically to the tunes of the Russian gypsy music much like she did for the Carnatic classical songs. Though she gave me the looks initially when I sat beside her on the floor in my jeans and black T Shirt, she was all smiles by the end of the concert.

- The start attraction of the evening was the Russian gypsy band 'Loyko', who entertained the crowd with their fast fiddling and vocals. They could literally make the violins laugh as part of this comedy act they performed between songs.

- Ambi Subramaniam's violin recital of 'Varumo Sakhi' in raaga Keeravani was just brilliant.

- The Norwegian folk songs played by Benedicte, with the accompanied dancing reminded me of 'Pulluvan Paattu', an art form prevalent in Kerala , performed to appease the snake gods.

- There was this minister who was invited as chief guest, who made an ass of himself by announcing cash prizes for the artists every time he was invited on stage. For him this was yet another opportunity to show off or perhaps he was sure that they will never turn up in front of his office demanding the money!

- Something should be done about the people who occupy seats and leave after 10 minutes. These idiots come, buy tickets, parade outside the venue in their designer clothes and walk out by the time the artists are done with the tuning. If you are not really interested why waste a ticket dude?

- And I don't want to comment on those who wear sun glasses during an indoor concert at 7 in the evening.

- There were also performances by Grammy winner jazz violinist Mark O'Connor, classical violinist Catharina Chen and Algerian violinist Kheir Eddine M'Kachiche

- The grand finale was a composition by Dr. L Balasubramaniam, performed by 7 violinists with the accompaniment of a piano, acoustic guitar, tavil and mridangam.

- Outside the concert hall I found a shop selling 'Melody' toffees. As a kid this used to be my favorite toffee. (it still is). I bought enough to last a few months!

There is a fusion concert by Esperanto and an insane evening with The Prodigy on the cards this month. 2011 is rocking!

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