MMA choir to perform global folk songs for first time in Chennai

Oh Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling From glen to glen, and down the mountain side The summer’s gone, and all the flowers are dying ‘Tis you, ‘tis you must go and I must bide...
Members of The MMA choir during a rehearsal
Members of The MMA choir during a rehearsal


These are the lyrics from the popular Irish folk song titled Danny Boy that was written in 1910. To introduce Chennaiites to the tunes of folk music from various countries, the Madras Musical Association choir (MMA) will be presenting an evening of folk music in a concert. Titled A World of Music, the concert will be held at the Museum Theatre, Egmore, on November 15, 7.30 pm onwards.  

“Western classical music has a definite colour from composers across the globe. But, folk music of various countries is much more varied. We realised this as we tried this concert’s repertoire. We have folk songs from the UK, Europe, America, Carribean Islands, and Asia — Korean, Sri Lankan, and Indian. Each of these songs has a distinct sound because of its native traditions. We also have guest conductors from Poland and South Korea to conduct their native pieces. We have a guest singer doing the Indian folk song. The small band that joins the accompanist Immanuel is from within the choir, except the guest bassist. There are a few solos and ensembles apart from the 90-member strong choir performing the major chunk,” says Augustine Paul, music director of The MMA Choir.

It’s a rare chance to get to hear folk songs from countries across the world under one roof and Augustine hopes that the audience would find the concert interesting.The show will be conducted by Augustine Paul, Ebenezer Arunkumar and Anjana Rajagopalan.

Anjana, who has composed and arranged the Indian pieces for this concert, will be singing soprano for the concert. “I have adapted the renaissance time composition called madrigal into a Carnatic ragam and have composed a song, which we will be singing as a capella with a small group. Popular folk singer Vedanth Bharadwaj will be singing a Tamil folk lullaby called Tunnai Marathu composed by MB Srinivasan,” says Anjana.The two-hour concert will be supported by the MMA Symphony Orchestra for some of the songs. Generally, a niche crowd that loves Western classical music throngs the MMA concerts. But, the upcoming concert comes as an opportunity for music lovers to follow and appreciate the work of folk singers. 

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