The Mridangam Arangetram of siblings Harison and Rishaban Gowribala at the Watersmeet Theatre in Twickenham on September 16, 2023, marked a defining moment for this dynamic duo and their Guru, Sri Paramasamy Kirubakaran. Their performance transcended the boundaries of a typical Mridangam Arangetram, showcasing a diverse range of skills that captivated the audience.
For these young aspirants, it was their debut on stage, reflecting years of rigorous training and a deep understanding of the melodic beats and rhythmic patterns of the South Indian classical percussion instrument, the Mridangam. Their performance was a testament to their dedication and solid progress. For Guru Kirubakaran, it was also a milestone as he celebrated his half-century in guiding and mentoring students, furthering the reach of this instrument in the UK.
The siblings had the rare opportunity to reach an astonishing level of mastery, thanks to their unwavering commitment to their guru and the frequent practice sessions at home. They mastered the intricacies of hand positions to achieve precise tones and pitches, creating a harmonious fusion of sounds through their finger beats.
The presence of accompanying artists added depth and complexity to the event. Collaborating with high-caliber musicians from Tamil Nadu, India presented a rewarding challenge for the emerging duo. Guru Kirubakaran wisely incorporated local talents into the team of artists, serving as young motivators who uplifted the spirits of the duo.
A brief overview of the stage performers and the selection of Carnatic and Tamil compositions made the event pulse with energy.
The glamour of the event was initiated by the renowned Carnatic vocalist, Kayanapuram S. Aravind, accompanied by violinist A. G. A. Gnanasundaram and ghatam player R. N. Prakash, all hailing from illustrious classical musical traditions. Local talent Anushan Mohanarajah, a graduate in Mridangam eleven years ago, displayed exceptional prowess with the morsing, matching the standards set by the vidvans. Dharani Gowribala patiently played the Thambura, contributing to the event’s musical tapestry.
The program commenced with “Varnam-Navaragamaliga” by Patnam Subramaniya Iyer and continued with “Vatapi Ganapathim Bhajeham” by Dikshitar, “Sadinchane” by Saint Thiyagaraja, “Sabapathikku Veru Theivam” by Gopalakrishna Bharati, “Mahalakshmi” by Papanasam Sivam, “Manavyalkinchara” by St. Thiyagaraja, “Thaye Yasaotha” by Venkatakavi, “Maal Maruga” by Papanasam Sivan, “Ragam Thanam Pallavi” by Guru P. Kirupakaran, “Muralithara Gopala” by Peryasami Thooran, “Kaakkai Siraginile Nandalala” by Subramaiya Bharati, “Aadum Chidambaramo” by Gopalakrishna Bharathi, “Chinanchiru Kiliye” by Subramaniya Bharathi, “Thiilana” by Oothukkadu Venkatakavi, and concluded with “Thirupugaz” by Saint Arunagirinathar.
The solo ‘tani avartanam’ was a highlight, showcasing grace and maturity in their playing. It resisted the temptation to indulge in excessive sound and fury, focusing on captivating the audience with nuanced percussion.
Nirosha Suthesan and Thulase Sivapooran played a special role, succinctly introducing each song in the program. The Chief Guest for the event was the renowned Veena vidwan, Malini Thanabalasingam.
Congratulations to Harison and Rishaban on their remarkable performance, and best wishes for many more years of musical exploration and growth! Special commendations to the parents for their dedicated support in nurturing their children’s exceptional talents in Mridangam. This achievement stands as a testament to the unwavering commitment of Guru Paramasamy Kirubakaran, whose hard work has molded these young musicians and allowed them to savor the true essence of Carnatic beats.