Priest steals hearts of patients with his songs

: Clad in the customary white cloak, a priest here rendered songs ranging from soothing Christian devotional to weighty Carnatic to peppy Malayalam film numbers at a healing-intended music programme organised here today in the run-up to the Kochi Muziris Biennale (KMB) starting next month.

Father Joseph Thattarassery juggled genres eminently by crooning compositions that owed thematically to the Bible and later invoking Hindu god Ganesha through a south Indian classical kriti in a 80-minute show organised by the Kochi Biennale Foundation here.

Presented at the 40th edition of KMB's weekly "Arts and Medicine" programme at the Ernakulam Government General Hospital, the concert saw Thattarassery being accompanied by a couple of young female singers amid background music by the Mehboob Memorial Orchestra.

The audience at the hospital included parishioners from his current and old church, apart from the usual mix of doctors, patients and bystanders. The two accompanying singers, Dency Xavier and Nimmi Xavier, are both former students of music and also from his parish.

The second edition of the KMB, spanning 108 days and featuring works of 94 artists, will start on December 12.