Stage Acts – From Madurai Somu to Anup Jalota

One of the definitions of an entertainer is someone who holds the attention of the audience by doing something amusing or diverting. Lets look at some popular musicians whose unique stage acts  entertained their audiences yet never detracted the listeners from enjoying the music.

Madurai Somasundaram or Madurai Somu as he was referred to was a Carnatic musician. When he presented Tamil compositions during a concert he brought tears to the listeners eyes. While singing a song he would suddenly chant the word “Gurunatha” or “Muruga”, his favourite God. Moved by the lyrics of the songs, he would sometimes break down, even turn his body and sit sideways facing the accompanists. The music would completely overtake his senses and he lost track of where he was. Do watch this video which gives you an idea what I’m talking about.

Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer, the legendary Carnatic vocalist had a great sense of humour. His soft quips murmured into the microphone would have the audience cracking up during his concerts. They were often delivered in an inimitable dead-pan expression.

Anup Jalota, known as “bhajan samrat” (king of bhajans) educates his audiences during his performances. When he pauses while singing a bhajan and murmurs “yeh bahut hi sundar pankhthiyan hain” in Hindi (which mean these are beautiful verses) he makes the audience ponder on the lyrical beauty of the verses.  Music needs to be shared, it’s not a solitary pursuit of pleasure for the artiste alone and Anup Jalota practises this philosophy. Listen to this popular Meera bhajan of Anup Jalota.

 BB King , the Blues legend took his listeners on a journey of love, heartbreak, death and other tribulations of life even as he crooned, wept and laughed on stage. He spoke to his audience and engaged them every minute of his performance. For more on BB King, do read this article



  1. n balu says:

    Chitra, You didn’t choose the right example with Elvis to make your point- Thanks,Balu
    ( carnatic music lover dabbles in rock, jazz, pop…..)

  2. Chitra Srikrishna says:

    Thanks for your feedback Balu. On reflection I might have been carried away 🙂

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