For the first time, I got to see singer Hariharan perform live last Saturday. I have always loved his voice -- soulful, deep, soothing, pleasing, strong yet not abrasive. Simply marvellous voice. Wonderful singing skills too. Versatile -- ghazals or hip hop, no probs. Sings with so much feeling and perfection in emotions, it is ...super!
At this show, he was as usual wonderful in his singing and is an excellent stage performer (which I expected after Blogeswari's account long ago) , although he did suffer a few bouts of irritation here and there it seemed to me, mostly because of one or more of the following reasons: -
1. The audience was rather on the reticent side -- maybe quite 'kezhamfied' (with many older people) and not as enthusiastic as they could have been (but not BAD, really)
2.The orchestra needed his constant prodding and guiding for pace, sound, effect, etc.
3. A guest singer was not as quick to the beat as she should have been and needed his prompting. 4. His own chorus singers -- 2 mamas (uncles) and 2 akkas (older sisters) were not up to his 'josh'/pace sometimes.
5. The 'technical-sound people' seated amidst the audience goofed up one song big time. Hariharan actually shouted 'stop it' at the end. But it was not even heard properly because that was how loudly they goofed up.
6. A few requests were shouted out from the audience and although he complied, I felt he was somewhat ...bugged. He was gracious all right, but sommething was missing.
Why I was bugged here and there:
1. Hariharan got his sons to sing 2 songs -- one solo each I think, and they were both only 'average' singers. The older one especially, bordered on lousy singing. The younger one can pass off in the rock scene. If I had been feeling bitchy enough (!!which I was not since Hariharan's singing is flawless and mind/heart blowing!), I would have felt very grumpy about having his sons forced on us when we had come to hear only Hariharan. (free passes notwithstanding!) Oh well, perhaps he was using them to take his voice breaks...am a wee bit Grr nevertheless.
2. The two male chorus singers at one point early in the performance were seemingly having an argument right on stage until one (main) female singer Lavanya (I think that was her name)shushed them. Silly behaviour on stage that too. Mamafyd behaviour.
3.' Lavanya' was pleasant and openly enjoying Hariharan's singing skills all right, but did she HAVE to be soooooo adoring of him and smiling 99.99% of the time? In fact make that 100%! NO aching cheek muscles, eh? Plus, this overly overt admiration of one's er, BOSS (for lack of a better word) does not look very nice on stage. I mean, even I was getting carried away with his voice, but i was not gazing 'smiley-ly' at him alllll the bloody time! Please, woman, some restraint. Thankfully, Hariharan did not turn all goofy himself. He was damn near perfect in fact. Anyway, Lavanya did sing very well as did the other female singer whose name I did n't catch.
4. The guest singer -- great that she got the chance to sing with Hariharan and great that she had the guts to, but then... I am jealous!!;)
5. The crowd. Silly folks. Either come out and enjoy a performance or don't show up. If you knew anything about Hariharan, you would know that you cannot be unenthu at his show.
6. The playback track was ON and it seemed almost like karaoke singing here and there -- this PISSED me off. I do not want to watch a talented singer like Hariharan LIVE, doing karaoke.
7. I never considered myself a 'radical Tamil' but when he sang the Hindi version of 'Thamizha Thamizha' from the film Roja, I was miffed.
8. In the above song, I made out a mistake he made because of point 6 above. My friends and I have performed this song in college and I knew straight off that he had made a mistake in the beats -- in that he missed two beats! Come ON, with 4 chorus singers and a whole orchestra, why not make your own music however modest? A singer like Hariharan can carry it through, OK?
Anyway, all I can say is that I have new respect for Hariharan -- because he is so good on stage as well and even does some impressive dancing!! Just a few steps, but cute. I am waiting for his next live performance cos I ain't missing it -- sons or no sons, adoring Lavanya or no adoring Lavanya and Hariharan's well-concealed irritations or no. Hariharan beckons!
What a voice, what a voice!