Here's wishing everyone of you a very happy and prosperous new year! It has been a hectic and momentous twelve months for me musically. Personally this should rank as one of my all time favorite music seasons. Not since the times when I was singing in the afternoon slots have I looked forward to every concert so much. A huge reason has been the condition of my voice that has really stood by my this year especially compared to last year. I did say a big thank you to all the rasikas who stood by me last year and I continue by saying a big thank you to each and every one of you who had taken the trouble, braving so many hazards, to actually come and sit in the concert and show support.Some have observed to me that this was a more conventional season for me in terms of the choice of ragams, compositions etc. As far as I am concerned there is something for everyone that the system offers and it is upto us musicians to keep digging and coming up with what we can be it the conventional or the exotic. One of the highlights of this season for me has been the wonderful talk that Sriram V gave on Tiger Varadachariyar at the Tag centre. For many years Tiger has remained as that silent hero in the back of my mind ever since I heard my Guru Shri KSK speak about him and sing snatches of his music. I still remember when I played him a recording of the Kalyani ata tala varnam and his face glowed with pride. He immediately took out a book and showed me Tiger's Kalyani varnam - Karunai kadale and said that if there was an adi tala version of the great Vanajakshi then it had to be this. Later I was hunting for more Tiger compositions at the Kalakshetra library and Shri Rajaram gave me a copy of the Tiger centenary volume with some varnams printed on it. I sourced the Hindolam varnam - chalamu from Shri BV Raman some months before he died. This year I managed to learn the Begada varnam - Sariyo nee and sang it at the Music Academy.
Anyway 2011 is already looking bright with England having retained the Ashes and India the no 1 Test ranking. So bring on the World Cup and let Sachin retire in a blaze of glory while w lesser mortals keep grappling with this great and wonderful art form that is consuming as day and night! Happy new year!