A Balamurali Krishna concert through the eyes of a five year old

This post is not a review of a Sri. Balamurali Krishna concert at ICC, Milpitas, CA on April 13, 2013. It was an enjoyable 3 hours for us but I wanted to do this post differently. This concert happened to be the first Carnatic concert that my five year old son fully sat through. I wanted to frame his experience through this blog post. The rest of this post is my attempt at capturing my son’s thoughts, words and reaction to the whole concert.

Let me introduce myself

I am V, a five year old boy living in San Jose, CA. My parents and grand parents love music and they tell me I have been listening to it since I was in my mom’s tummy. How can I listen when I am in my mom’s tummy?. Dad’s kidding, right?. Anyway, appa makes me listen to carnatic music and Ummachi music every morning on the way to school. One day, he made me listen to this song “Ramachandraya Janaka” by this mama called Balamurali Krishna. I loved this song so much I made appa play the song every morning. I listened to it this morning also.

A few weeks ago, amma told me that Balamurali Krishna mama was going to give something called a “concert” and we were going to go. I was so excited. But two days later, appa told me, Balamurali mama was sick and could not come. I was so sad. Last week, appa told me Balamurali mama went to the doctor, got medicine and was feeling better and was coming to give the concert. I was excited again.

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The concert

It was a Saturday morning. I woke up late and didnt feel like brushing my teeth. Amma told me, if I didnt brush my teeth I couldnt go to the concert. The concert- I forgot all about it. I got ready and was waiting for 6:30 to arrive. I kept asking amma, “Is it 6:30 yet?.”. Amma said, soon.

Evening finally arrived and we left home for the concert. We parked the car and entered this nice building. There was a big room and there were lots of people coming in and sitting. We took our seat in the back and waited. Soon, Balamurali mama came in. It was so cool. Appa lifted me and showed me. He looked old, had a flat head- not round and was wearing a glittery dress.

The songs

The concert started with a song called “Naadha tanumanisam”. It was short and fun. I liked it. Appa told me that Balamurali mama sang it differently than others. I havent heard the song before so how would I know?. Silly appa.

Next he sang a song called “Omkara Pranava” in a ragam appa called Shanmugha Priya. Appa told me that Balamurali mama wrong the song himself. Wow!. I thought he only sangs songs. I didnt know he wrote them too. Cool! The third song was called “Sri Ramam Sada Bhajegam” and that was also written by Balamurali mama. It was in a ragam called Tanarupi that Appa said he had never heard before. Never ever. Really!.

Then Balamurali mama started singing this song Appa called “Nannupalimpa”. Appa said this song was in the same ragam Mohanam as a song he always sings to me- “Ninnukori”. The ragam was fun but Balamurali mama kept on singing it for a long time. I was starting to get bored. Amma gave me my animals book and I started looking at all the little animals. The song kept on going for so much time. I wanted to go peepee. Appa took me out and I said I need a break. Appa got me a samosa in the hall outside- it was so spicy but I ate the outer part of the samosa and appa ate what was inside. After some time, we went inside and the song was over. So long!

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A break and after

Everyone took a break after that long song. Amma and Appa had a chai and they didnt give me any. Unfair!. We went in and waited for Balamurali mama to come in. When they came in, I saw him up close. That was awesome. I told amma all about it.

Balamurali mama sang a song called “Hanuma Anuma” that he had written himself. He then sang a song called “Mamava Pattabhi” in Ragam Manirang- it was a nice song. Appa was very excited to hear it- he said that thatha sang the song as did all of thatha’s sisters. The next song was called “Ramudu” in Shankarabharanam. Appa said he was hearing that song for the first time. The next song was called “Pibhare Raamarasam”. I think a lot of people knew the song they were so happy when he started singing it.

After that, he picked a song I knew – “Seetha Kalyana”. Appa and Amma tell me that I used to hear this a lot when I was a teeny tiny kid. It was very nicely sung by Balamurali mama. I liked it a lot. Appa and Amma also liked it a lot.

The kids around me were all sleeping or playing “Angry Birds” on their parents phones. I asked Appa for his phone. He said no games. Only drawing. So I started doing some drawing. The next song was something Appa didnt know called “Rama Rama Janardhana” that was written by Balamurali mama’s grandfather.

Appa said the concert was going to end soon. The next song was a really fast one Appa called “Thillana” in the Ragam Brindavani. It was very fast and Balamurali mama sang it quickly. It was like an express train. So fast.

I was putting my shoes on to get ready to leave- then I heard my favorite song- “Ramachandraya”. I was thrilled. Appa told Amma I was speechless because it was so exciting for me. I started singing the song along with Balamurali mama. Everyone was clapping with the tune. It was so awesome. I was smiling so much.

The end

Appa was talking to Amma in the car about the concert. They said his voice was still so fantastic at this age. He forgot some words in the middle but his voice was still the same after all these years, said Appa.

I had a lot of fun at the concert. Appa asked me if it was ok, good, great or awesome. I said “Awesome!”. I want to go for another Balamurali Krishna concert soon. Appa said he will take me.

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