Music from 108 veenas, played simultaneously by women of different ages, rumbled at Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple, for the 20th consecutive year on Vijayadasami day on Tuesday.
Founder of Madurai Veenai Vazhipadu Mandram A. Chinnadurai, who has been organising the event since the beginning, said traditional instruments such as veena, flute and mridangam brought a calming vibe inside the temple walls.
His daughter Aruna Mutharasi Chinnadurai, who is also a bharatnatyam performer, said the veena spectacle began from a series of pujas in front of Goddess Saraswathi’s holy place in the temple every Friday. “At that time, there were only two persons who would play the veena and the rest of us would sing. As crowds grew, we began wondering why we should not make it a large-scale event,” she said.
Mr. Chinnadurai said for years, playing the veena was restricted only to one particular community. “We wanted to showcase that people from any caste or community can play this instrument,” he said.
Most part of the concert comprised works of Muthuswami Dikshitar and Muthiah Bhagavatar. Shobana Swaminathan, who led the 108 veena players, said this year’s theme was songs on Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswathi. “The aim was to ensure that culture and carnatic music come together. We played popular songs,” she said.
Hundreds of devotees and tourists from different nations watched the performance.
Mellisa from Spain said this was the first time for her to watch a music concert and that she would see forward to watch more such performances online. S. Meenapriya, a seasoned ‘kutchery-goer’, said she had attended the concert for seven consecutive years now. “I am proud that our culture is being showcased across the world,” she said.
Secretary of the mandram K. Bharathipriyan said apart from artistes from Madurai, Dindigul, Chennai, Coimbatore and Erode, performers from Singapore and Dubai also performed in the temple.