BY JYOTHSNA HEGDE
Atlanta, GA, November 2016: Neelanjali – A tribute to the eternal maestros, presented by Neelambari enthralled music lovers across Atlanta with a unique musical extravaganza featuring golden melodies from a range of languages including Malayalam, Tamil, Hindi and Kannada on November 5, 2016 at Norcross High School. The annual anniversary event starred well over 50 participants including kids ranging from five to 16 and adults, with an audience of over 400. Emcees Sathi Nagarajan and Arun Madangarli kept the evening interesting and entertaining.
Vijay Kumar extended a warm welcome to the audience, thanking volunteers and audiences alike. Opening with Carnatic Kriti, Entharo Mahanu Bhavulu composed by the legendary Thyagaraja set in Sri Ragam to Adi Talam performed by Srinath, Geethu, Beena, Soumya, Sathish accompanied by Ravi on the Mridangam set a high note for the evening ahead. The concept and direction was by Sathish Menon and Srinath K. Chitrahaar, a tribute to Doordarshan’s program featuring popular songs of 70s choreographed and conceived by Kavita Ramachandran was enacted by kids Akshaj, Gitanjali, Arjun, Kartik, Karan, Kavya, Madhav, Manasa P, Manasa J, Nakul, Namasya, Poornima, Pranav N., Pranav R., Prithvi, Rohini, Rohit, Sanjana, Shivani, Shreya, Shruti, Vishn with special mention to Harini and Kailash special thanks was extended to Geeta M, Swapna S, Rekha J, Anju, Anupama, Salini, Nyle, Manju.
With concept by Swapna Menon and choreography by Swapna Menon and Rakhi Menon, Saptaanjali, a mesmerizing semi classical dance tribute on a medley of seven semi-classical compositions by legendary music directors came alive with dancers Shiraja, Vyshali, Rakhi, Swapna and singers Sathish, Geethu and Srinath. Followed by a dinner break, Chalo Disco, choreographed by Meghna Nagarajan and Movina Nagarajan, performed by Gowri, Medha, Nakul, Pallavi, Prem, Rishi, Sachin, Smrithi, Vyshali entertained the audience. The same choreography duo presented dance sequence Guns ‘N’ Roses with performers Beena, Geethu, Kavita, Swapna, Usha, Parvathy, Sathish, Rajesh, Anand, Shajeev, Ranjith with special mentions Preetha and Sreekanth. Kabhi Alvida Na Kehnaa, A final musical tribute, had performers Sathish, Srinath, Geethu, Beena, Soumya, Vyshali, Rajesh, Anand serenading melodies by some of the legendary artists of the music world. Music Session Artists included Anand, Anil, Anish, Anu, Beena, Geeta, Geethu, Gowri, Hormis, Karan, Manasa, Maya, Nakul, Padman, Pallavi, Poornima, Prem, Rajesh, Rohit, Sathish, Shreya, Siva, Soumya, Srinath, Suma, Sunny, Vinu, Vyshali. Arun Madangarli thanked all performers, volunteers and supporters of Neelambari in his vote of thanks.
Incepted in 2002, “Neelambari came into existence as a family group, mainly to encourage the children of people of Indian origin in the art of appreciation and practice of Indian music and related art forms. An effort is made to encourage participation of children in all the four quarterly sessions and the anniversary. Children are encouraged to get training and constantly try for excellence. Neelambari also wants to provide opportunity for other performances like dance by talented members” says Vijay Kumar, founding member of Neelambari.
Neelambari has several members who are celebrities in the field of music or dance. Sathish Menon, singer, dancer and organizer, has been invited multiple times by famed playback singers like K S Chithra and Venugopal to share the stage with them during their North American stage programs.
“He is a complete artist and a visionary, and is one of the nucleus members of Neelambari,” says Vijay Kumar.
Another star performer Srinath Kalavichiratti was the winner at the reality music competition ‘Ragamaalika”, sponsored by Jaya TV in 2007. Srinath has performed on several stages across the spectrum of all South Indian languages.
Geethu Venugopal was a finalist at the music reality show “Gandharva Sangeetham” sponsored by Kairali TV, in 2013. She is also a play back singer having performed under famous music director Ouseppachan (Malayalam). Meghna Nagarajan and Movina Nagarajan, the winners at IACA Beauty Pageant have made invaluable contributions to the family by dancing, singing and choreographing for the programs.
“Neelambari family is also enriched by singers like Beena Kumar, Sowmya, Vaishali Menon and dancers like Kavitha Ramachandran, Rakhee Menon, Swapna Menon to name a few,” he says.
Program concept and coordination by Sathish Menon, facilities by Rajeev Menon, welcome desk members Rajesh Veliyath, Vijaya Kumar Nair, Rajeev Menon, refreshments by Nyle Menon, stage management by Meera Menon and Saikumar Viswanathan. Stage arts by Sunil Kuruppath & Sajan Padmanabhan, photography & videography by Venkat Kuttua, audio by Sathish Menon, visual effects by Sathish Menon, Sajan Padmanabhan and lighting by Sudi Narayanan and event promotions: Kailas Kurup, Geethu Venugopal and Kavita Ramachandran.
Neelanjali, like the rare and radiant ruby, came together to offer a fine musical bonanza to the audience.