Monday, February 12, 2007

Ann Gilbert from Auroville

Bhakti Pop in 'Tamil Voodoo' style Syed Ali Mujtaba Monday, February 12, 2007 Auroville crowd (an international commune near Pondicherry) had gathered there in large numbers. The Dune inmates too had assembled after their supper for the concert. The musical extravaganza timed for 8.30. PM actually began at 9.
In the next two-hour or so, there was free flow of Bhakti Pop music of a rare kind. Kovai Kamla with her deep husky voice created a spiritual aura with chants of 'Murga,' ‘Govinda' and ‘Rama'. Internationally renowned pop singer Susheela Raman transformed the atmosphere into a high voltage raw pop. The drummers from of Tanjore and Mettupalayam representing the Tattapam and Tudumbattam traditions provided the rythemic beats. Guitarists Samuel Mills and Paul Jacob lifted the entire musical concert into dazzling heights.
Shusheela's solo number "Om Nmh Shiva" demonstrated her training in the Indian classical music. . Her stage eccentricities during her performances sent the crowd into tizzy. They were in a boisterous mood to shake their entire body. Some guys were seen taking of their shirts to dance freely on the drumbeats. The drummers gave a non-stop performance for fifteen minutes towards the close of the concert. The crowd went wild and was in ruptures.
"It was an unique experience unheard and unseen before. The sound of music was forcing me to shake my legs," said Suzanne Clark from Paris, who was holidaying at the Dunes. Ann Gilbert from Auroville who came to watch Kovai Kamla perform live did not appreciate the stage mannerism of the Bhakti singer.
“Kamla has a wonderful voice, I have got three CDs of her, but her stage performance did not suit her age. She is sixty plus, I am disappointed seeing her doing a teeny-weeny show,” Ann said. Bob, Ann's boyfriend was more magnanimous. “Kamala and Susheela created an atmosphere that cannot be described in words. It was experience to be felt alone,” he said. Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist based in Chennai, India. He can be contacted at

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