Wednesday evening at The Gallery Café was filled with surprises. Chong Chiu Sen, Sruthi Dhulipaala and Agastya came down to mesmerise the audience with their Carnatic music renditions.
The event was titled ‘Unexpectedly Carnatic’. What was unusual about the evening was that Chong Chiu Sen is Chinese, Sruthi Dhulipaala a rock singer and Agastya only eleven, but all three of them came together to create magical music, smoothly papering over their differences of background. Balasubramanian accompanied the artistes on the mridangam, while Sridhar played the violin. It was just three hours before all five of them met and performed. They began with Maha Ganapathim, and the cheers got louder as all three artistes took turns to give their solo performances. When Dhulipaala sang her last kriti (song) titled Tadimthanana, it elevated the spirit of the crowd. As confident as she looked, she sounded melodious.
The showstopper of the event was Chong Chiu Sen, who came to India in the year 2000 from Malaysia to learn Carnatic music. His yearlong singing practice under guru DK Pattammal showed in his performance. Chong’s new name, given by his guru, is Sai Madhana Mohan Kumar. Before he sang his first kriti titled Kapali, he expressed his disappointment over not being able to enter Kapaleeshwarar temple at Mylapore, Chennai. He wasn’t allowed to enter as he was a non-Hindu.
The musical event went on for 90 minutes and it was bliss listening to this unique amalgamation of art and artistes.