Power, passion and energy are the three words that can be used to best describe the drumming extravaganza organised by Jus drums.
Vani mahal was abuzz with activity. As I meandered down the space separating the two divisions of the auditorium, I realised that the hall was jam-packed and finding a place to sit proved to be quite a menacing task! As I quietly grabbed an elusive seat, the show got off to a rousing start with a clean rendition of the song that’s slowly establishing its stranglehold as the Tamil anthem, Semmozhi. Expectations graduated to the next level when the host, Drums Murali, who also happens to be the man in charge of the troupe, announced that the next song to be played would be Rakkamma kaiyya thattu from Thalapathy. The announcement did raise a few eyebrows, as it’s known for the highly intricate nature of the prelude and magnitude of difficulty in playing the song live. But the invigorating initiation settled all doubts and the troupe owes the scintillating response for the song to its lead keyboardist, Karthik Subramaniam. Karthik and his counterparts breezed through the toughest parts of the legendary song with consummate ease and élan.
Next up, it was time for All drums, an avant-garde performance that appealed to all sections of the audience. All drums was just that, an extraordinary exhibition of various percussions that had shades of innovation and improvisation painted all over it. The recital awakened the audience to the various traditional percussion instruments. The effort was evident and the experience, a pleasurable one but they should have worked on curtailing the length of the song. This was followed by yet another Ilayaraja classic, the divine Kalamkalamaga from Punnagai Mannan, which stood out for the energy-filled rendition by the female lead. The evergreen engeyum yeppodhum from ninaithaley inikkum, spiced up with aggressive vocals by the male lead that combined well with the novel ad-libbing.
While Bharani, the lead singer, impressed with his creativity in engeyum, his attempts at striding off the beaten track bombed big time when he tried singing the celebrated classic, Meri sapnon ki rani from Aradhana. The troupe’s tryst with re-recording established their versatility. Three famous clippings known for convoluted BGMs were screened with the volume muted, as the troupe effortlessly played the background score. Their work on the unforgettable temple scene in Guna will remain etched in the audience’s memory for long. The recital sounded so much like the unassailable original score. A small clipping highlighting the achievements of the organisation followed and then it was time for the ensemble to finish with a bang.
A theme based song, which happens to be a routine that they have been following for the past ten years, was based on limiting the use of plastic. It started off with the cacophonous sound that arises out of crushing a plastic bottle and it was followed by a groundbreaking composition with the instrumentalists restricting themselves to plastic buckets, barrels and mugs to play the opus. A very well thought out piece of euphony indeed. The tiny tots who performed were conferred with certificates and after a few wise words from the chief guest Rev father Jegath Gasper Raj, the curtains were drawn. An evening to cherish.