Today marked the end of our lessons. Students dragged themselves sadly to their Guru’s homes. Okay, they were driven again in hair-raising, life-threatening rides through utter insanity! We then muscled through the copious additional material thrown at us by the Gurus. The voice students were given two additional Kritis (NOT baby pieces!!) just this week alone – extremely challenging material, and spitting Kannada and Sanskrit phrases out at the speed of light. Truly truly impressive.
We ended the day with a spectacular treat that will make the previous groups jealous – a SAXOPHONE concert. Saxophone is relatively new to Carnatic music (like, the last 30 years?!), and it is a strange and interesting fit. Not the stretchy approach possible with the open-hole flute, violin or of course voice, but an interesting fit. The violin “accompanist” was tricked out with an octave pedal (disturbing!) and the mrdangam (Jackfruit logdrum) player had a predisposition for pitch-changing making him sound often like a tabla player, instead of the South Indian drummer he was. What a concert! What we think of as Christmas lights everywhere, English translations for the introduction (thank you!), lovely marble floors and a huge TREE growing in the middle of the temple….a fantastic end to our concert-going this year.