Overcast skies and drizzle didn't stop the quirky and colorful Kottayam crowd from reaching the Baselious College Grounds here to watch a performance by music legend Hariharan and Grammy award-winning violinist Manoj George at 'Symphony of Empathy', a concert organized by the town's Arts Foundation.
As the show began, the crowd slowly started swelling in and the circular lights on stage came to life. Opening with Mozart's Symphony, Manoj George and his chamber orchestra, along with sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Chari, enthralled the audience amid hypnotizing lights in the pastel hues of green, yellow, and blue.
The band's stage presence was extremely energetic and Manoj George was seen shifting the crowd's focus to other instrumentals during the performance. Then was Hariharan's time to turn up on stage starting with 'Vakratunda Mahakaya' followed by his Tamil hit 'Nenjukkul Peidhidum'. Manoj's prowess on the violin stood out in each of his performance.
The festive atmosphere surrounding the concert venue didn’t falter one bit as Hariharan continued to deliver his hit singles such as 'Uyire', 'Colonial Cousins', 'Walking in the Moonlight', and 'Nila Kaigiradhu'.
Hariharan was exceptional in taking the audience on an emotional journey and even made the whole crowd sing along with him. The king of ghazal amazed his listeners with a superlative performance and his rendering of songs with a mix of Hindustani and blues took the audience to another world altogether, as daybreak slowly ended the darkness of the night. The 'jugalbandhi' he did with Manoj George and Pandit Ravi Chari was also spellbinding.
The performers included a variety of songs from Mozart's Symphony to Kerala's sensational hit 'Jimmiki Kammal'. Manoj George's spectacular performance on the violin stole the show and was definitely the most satisfying one in the concert. The crowd was seemingly pleased as he turned into a magician with the violin, playing movie theme-based hit songs, Beethoven's Symphony, and a fusion of old songs. The chamber orchestra was equally satisfying.
With the event, Arts Foundation Kottayam (AFK), which has just finished its ninth year, has yet again proved that their town has the best music lovers in Kerala as the crowd was so enthusiastic. As part of the event, the AFK honored Gokulam Gopalan, chairman of Sree Gokulam Group of Companies with a lifetime achievement award for his contribution to social, art and culture, and business. Hariharan honored him with the traditional shawl 'ponnada' and handed over a memento.