Last evening, Akkarai Sisters played violin duet in the monthly event of Girinagara Sangeetha Sabha, Bangalore. It was in a small general purpose hall, not built for concerts. Poor acoustics and ordinary sound-system. The artists’ dissatisfaction with the sound quality was evident on their faces. Bass and treble were adjusted, cables changed, microphones tilted up and down, raised and lowered, and speaker pushed around. Thirty minutes of performance went by trying to make the best of situation with the signal and noise in the modest hall.
Dhub! Power failed. Dark hall of rainy dusk, silenced speakers – only some mild disturbing noise around. Members of management committee ran around and out of the hall trying to restore power, not within their power though.
The hall that could seat 150 was teaming with 200. Someone in front row suggested to the artists, “Please continue. We’ll keep pin-drop silence.” The hall reverberated with strings of violins, accompanied by tabla and ghata. Melody flowed with original high quality and full fidelity directly to the listeners. No transforming sound waves to electrical signals and back to speakers to recreate waves of sound. Fidelity of sound system, lose wires, noise induction … no effects.
What a bliss! None stirred in the audience. A few helped by beaming dim cell-phone-lights on the stage. The artists were soon oblivious of the context, performed with a flow, weaving a magic envelop around the audience.
And, lo! power returned after 30 minutes, speakers booming again. Some in the audience suggested to turn of the amplifiers. That was not to happen. The 3 hours concert mesmerised the audience. The best part was the 30 minutes without tech support.
“Here with a Loaf of Bread beneath the Bough,
A Flask of Wine, a Book of Verse – and Thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness –
And Wilderness is Paradise enow.”
Not exactly – partly by spirit.