Dreams Achieved

“What makes a great entertainer?” is an article by Paul Tobey which states several virtues that make a performer stand out. Included in this are stage presence, humility, confidence, mental preparation, natural talent and one secret ingredient…..practice. All these elements marked the carnatic music arangetram of Shobha Jayamohan on the 10th of March 2012 at The Hills Centre.
“It was a shock to see around 1200 people sitting there when the curtains opened. Although I was initially nervous, within minutes I felt grateful that such a big crowd had come to encourage and bless me which gave me a lot of courage. Also seeing my parents and Gurus in front gave me more confidence.” says Shobha with a charming air of both humility and confidence.
Invoking the blessings of Goddess Saraswathi, Shobha began her recital with a varnam in ragam Saraswathi, lyrics composed by her father Dr. Jayamohan and beautifully tuned by Mohan Ayyar. As Shobha rendered this piece with sincerity she did seem truly blessed by the kalaimagal with a radiance that spread through to envelop the audience in all its glory.
Shobha’s guru Sangeetha Ayyar says, referring to Thyagaraja’s composition mokshamu galadha in Saramathy, “I became emotional when she started the song from “sakshath karani sadhbhakti, sangita gnana vihinulaku – the words of the anupallavi. It left an indelible impression on me and the audience.” The words mean, Is beauty attainable by anyone who has not experienced the profound ecstasy of devotional music? Shobha probably at that moment glimpsed an iota of the profundity and magnitude of the art form she had chosen to pursue for she says “I am more aware now of my shortcomings in music and have even a greater passion to learn more. I am aware that the concert was only a first baby step and that I really need to work hard.”
The highlight of the evening was however the two Tamil compositions, Yaro evar yaro , from Arunachala Kavi’s Rama Natakam in ragam Bhairavi and the Ragam thanam pallavi in Hindolam. Shobha elaborated these two ragams and rendered swarams with crisp precision. Dr. Jayamohan and his wife Bhavani confessed, “We are very passionate about Tamil Isai and hence we wanted to select a few Tamil compositions. We felt that as most of the audience would be from Tamil background, it would make sense to sing songs in a language where the meaning could be understood.” The verses from the Thirukural, Agara mudhala ezhuthellam, adhibhagavan mudhatre ulagu means just as the letter A is primary to the alphabet, so is the presence of God primary to the Universe. This was creatively set to music by Mohan Ayyar and Shobha rendered it with the depth it deserved. Shobha credits her training in this area of raga alapana, swaram and neraval singing to her mentor Smt. Hemalatha Ganesan. “I was extremely lucky and blessed to have had the contact of Hema aunty who was always willing to impart her knowledge in Music. She is a great teacher.”
A nostalgic moment was when Shobha sang “Thunbam nergayil yazh eduthu nee inbam serka mattaya” in Desh which was apparently a favourite with her grandfather. Memories of her grandfather singing those Bharathidasan verses brought a pool of tears to Shobha’s eyes and drowned the audience in the emotional intensity of her music.
A myriad of compositions like the Thevarams, Bho shambho in Revathy an all time hit with audiences, a rare composition on Ayyappan in Valachi, Ananda natamaduvar thillai in Purvi kalyani kept the audience engaged. A visual presentation introducing the item was artfully projected besides the tasteful stage décor, all adding value to the performance. Shobha expresses deep gratitude to her guru Smt. Sangeetha Ayyar and her mentor Smt. Hemalatha Ganesan and claims that she couldn’t have done without their constant encouragement.
When questioned about the idea of an arangetram for music which is a rarity, Shobha said “it was my father’s idea and a major purpose was that this would make me practice vigorously for a concert and in that process I would develop a strong grounding in music. I must say that the strategy worked very well.” The audience could sense that the goal Shobha set herself helped her to train rigorously, practice regularly and approach the art form with devotion and discipline.
Shobha couldn’t have done without the support of the extraordinarily talented accompanists, Thirupur Sri G.Mohan on the violin, Kovai Sri G.Prakash on the mridangam, Janakan Suthanthiraraj on the kanjira and Dharmini on the tambura.
The special occasion was graced by the presence of eminent vocalist Smt.Bhushany Kalyanaraman who presided as the Chief Guest.
“Thammidham makkal arivudamai manilathu mannuyirkellam inidhu” is a thirukkural that Shobha proved right that night, meaning, with joy the hearts of parents swell to see their children excel.
The father had a dream……the daughter made it a reality-Shobha Jayamohan’s carnatic music arangetram.

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