The Sound of The Urumi Melam
In the beginning, we go back to the sound of the ancestral soil. The sound of the urumi melam erupted through the entrance of the Axiata Arena as the masses were waiting for the concert doors to open. The Sri Aathi Muniswarar Urumi Melam and Sarva Kaali Urumi Melam Kajang pierced through the scorching heat of the afternoon sun, to awaken the hearts of the people. The entrance had a rooted sound of the old earth wretched against the new world that emerged from it. The painful heat of the sun is a friend to none, but the masses with their umbrellas and fans had the powerful storm of the urumi melam to keep them company. There was cheering and dancing amongst the crowd as the sound of their forefathers seething through the cracks of this land, gave a guttural birth to the event.
The Atmospheric Aesthetic
The lighting was phenomenally spectacular; a concert is not just meant to be an audio experience. It is an experience of the amalgamation of sound, sight, and presence; it should awaken your senses. And that is exactly what Hearts of Harris 3.0 has done. From sound to set design, everything was near perfection. The visuals and lighting showcased on stage created an immersive and opulent atmosphere for the audience. It elevated the concert experience with Harris Jayaraj’s already heavenly music.
A Homegrown Welcoming by Malaysian Artists
The Malaysian artists segment did not feel like a mere filler moment for the main show, but a whole show of its own. The highlight of the set list was, of course, Darkkey, Krish K, DJ Jay, DJ Jolly, and Hervin & Nickk. The crowd went absolutely wild at each of their portions. DJ Jay has done another phenomenal job with his set. The crowd was dancing like there was no end. He is truly a seasoned artist who knows just how to enrapture the audience.
The show-stopper was definitely the power-packed performance by Darkkey. It was exhilarating to witness Darkkey still have the same energy and stamina as they did 20 years ago. Their Puli and Akka Magal are etched so deeply into the Malaysian Tamil psyche that they’re basically cultural emblems at this point. These homegrown artists truly used their stage time well, to both entertain the crowd and showcase their unique musical talents.
Gautham Vasudev Menon
When Gautham Vasudev Menon entered, the crowd was ecstatic; after all, one cannot think of Harris Jayaraj’s music without thinking of GVM’s films. The beautiful magic they create seamlessly through integrating their music and film is unforgettable to all. His presence pumped up the crowd even further. He even started singing a song, which really pleased the crowd. The stylish director even gave some updates on Dhruva Natchathiram, letting the excited crowd know that Harris is indeed composing four new tunes for the upcoming film; the songs will be released sometime in June. Additionally, he informed the crowd that Harris has hired local underground Chennai rappers, known as Paal Dabba, to work on the film’s music.
The classy director did not stop himself from enjoying the concert, as any die-hard fan of Harris would. He stood by the crowd, cheering and singing along to his favourite tunes. It was quite a sight to witness a top-level director such as himself being utterly casual and thoroughly immersing himself in the music.
June Ponal, July Katre
One of the first songs to breeze into the ears of eager audience members was June Ponal July Katre. The song is a melodious, lustrous tune that had the audience completely captivated. The crowd was not only enthralled by Harris’s brilliant music; they were also mesmerised by the evanescent voice and personality of Krish. The soothing voice of Krish and his handsome face had all the girls swooning at his every move. The crowd was completely gripped by the beauty and grace of Krish, floored by his charm and suaveness at every moment. Everyone in the entire stadium was singing along to this upbeat and philosophical song, no doubt relating to every bit of this masterpiece.
The Lesa Lesa Album
The Lesa Lesa album still has the Tamil youth of today in a tight embrace. It is amazing to witness how a song from the early 2000s still contains the exact level of freshness that it had when it first premiered in 2003. The mesmerising vocals, the presence of Harris on stage, and the heavenly atmosphere took everyone into a euphoric trance of pure romance. It was this feeling that engraved itself in the souls of the audience. Something special about Harris’s concert is how much energy the crowd has, as they sing along to a soft and melodious tune. Although a smooth ballad, the song did not, for a second, lull the crowd to sleep; on the contrary it awakened something magical among them. This state of dreamy content was a beautiful emotion that lasted throughout the entire concert.
Manjal Veyil: The Perfect End
Manjal Veyil was a perfect closing to the night. When you have an aerial view of the arena, it truly is a spectacular sight, to gather in that breathtaking experience. It was the combination of Harris’s brilliant setlist and the power of the crowd that made the closing song so tremendously memorable. An arena packed with die-hard fans gave a new, euphoric life to the song itself. The lines Ulagathin kadaisi naal indru thaanaa enbadhu pol, pesi pesi theertha pinnum etho ondru kuraiyudhae were given a new meaning after that night. It captured the mood of the crowd, who didn’t want the night to end and wanted to continue being consumed by Harris and his celestial music. Every tremor of every instrument was felt through the skin, bones, and, most importantly, the hearts of the people. If the world were to ask where the true hearts of Harris lies, it is here in Kuala Lumpur, where even after hours of song and dance, fans never wanted the night to end.
Good Night, Kuala Lumpur
The greatest strength of the concert is the song selection. Each song was perfectly structured and placed. Nothing felt too laggy or too exhausting; every song, be it a melody or a rock song, equally engaged the audience and thoroughly entertained everyone. Often in concerts, some audiences only want a fast-beat dance set, but for Harris, the audience was content with every genre of his songs. Harris has managed to build a fanbase that knows how to appreciate the depth and beauty of all genres of music. This both allows Harris to become a hybrid composer and allows his audience to be individuals with a refined taste in all types of music.
One of the most interesting things about being in a concert by a renowned Indian-Tamil artist like Harris Jayaraj is witnessing the cultural exchange between people born in different nations and the cultural bond they share through the hypnosis of art. Even though most of the Tamils in the audience are 3rd and 4th generation Diaspora Tamils, there is no barricade between the masses and the music. Nearly every song was sung by the audience with bliss and conviction. It reveals how the world of Kollywood has an international impact on the cultural, emotional, and aesthetic lives of those who live outside of it.
As the night came to a close, bodies shimmering with the sweat of excitement, walking out hand in hand with lovers, friends, and family, littered the streets. Smiles bloomed upon their faces, and they desperately recounted each precious moment with those around them. There was exhaustion from all the singing and dancing they did, but together with that exhaustion, their faces bore a deep sense of happiness. And within their hearts, the lingering hums of Harris’s songs climbed out and languished against their lips. The concert was a memory etched into them, to be remembered forever and ever.
Varnam Malaysia is the Official Media Partner for “Hearts of Harris” Live in Kuala Lumpur 2023.