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Music, His Path to Bliss

S. Arun is renowned for his passionate rendering of melodies

ONE blind saint and a poet. A love for Hindu god Krishna. The majestic voice of O.S. Arun from Chennai, India. Roll the three for a one-night concert in the Klang Valley, and you are bound to have a showstopper.

The 15th Century blind bard, Surdas (Sant Kavi Surdas), sang so movingly that it was said that Krishna put his flute down to listen. “He could not see but he had insight and an inner vision,” says Arun (real name Vaidyanathan).

“Through his poetry, we could see Lord Krishna’s attire, whether he was wearing pyjamas or holding a peacock feather, and the different decorations you would see of Krishna in a temple. Surdas could see that.”

Calling from Thanjavur, India, where he was performing that evening, Arun sounded excited to be singing the fervent outpourings of Sant Surdas, as well as that of another 15th Century Hindu poet-saint-reformer and philosopher, Tulsidas.

Arun said he will also sing the poetry of Meera, Kabir, Ramadas, Narayan Sitar and Tukaram, a spiritual poet (1608-1650), for tomorrow’s fundraiser here. The two-hour concert called Bhajan Sandhya is Arun’s first in the country.

He will be accompanied by instrumentalists from India — Alfones Selvaamal Ferdinan (percussion), Sivaraman Balasubramaniam (mridangam), Srikrishnan Balasubramaniam (harmonium), Karaikal Venkatasubramaniam (violin) and Anthony Kirankumar (tabla).

Added Arun of Sant Surdas (literally “slave of melody”): “His poetry also deals with the relationship of a mother and child and the pranks Krishna played. I will explain some of this as I sing, so everyone will understand and enjoy the poetry.”

Arun is no stranger here as he has often been invited to sing for odissi and bharathanatyam performances by locally renowned dancers such as Mavin Khoo and Dr Chandrabhanu.

Bhajan Sandhya, organised by the Vijayaratnam Foundation, is in aid of the the Taarana School for special learning needs children. Last year, the foundation gave us Dasavatar which saw its chairperson, Datin Umayal Eswaran (wife of QI Group executive chairman Datuk Vijay Eswaran), giving a dance performance. Arun was the star vocalist for that event. The foundation is the philanthropic arm of the QI Group
Those who have heard him sing at Dasavatar or Khoo’s Dancing My Shiva, will attest to his passionate rendering of melodies and his expressive emphasis on keynote syllables.

New Delhi-born Arun comes from a family of musicians and was groomed by his father and guru, O.V. Subramaniam. “Music was inevitable for me. Music was all the time in my ear.”
After obtaining a Master’s in carnatic music, Arun has since forged a sterling music career that spans about 26 years.

Read more: Music his path to bliss – Showbiz – New Straits Times