Yaksha, organised by Isha Yoga Foundation, held at Velliangiri Hills, Coimbatore, brought both artists and rasikas together.

Yaksha, a feast of music and dance organised by Isha foundation at its headquarters in Velliangiri hills began with a breathtaking Kathak dance recital of Aditi Mangaldas and troupe of Drishtikon Dance Foundation. The Uncharted Seas – the search for the intangible – exemplifying quest to look for fixed points either in ourselves or take life as a challenge in the external universe was reflective of her innate urge to explore the space around her. Her concerns of large images outside her physical being could be felt throughout the dance recital. J. Krishnamurthi's concept of without? Within? or With? was conveyed by her superb dance taking the audience to a different level of the Shelleyan concept.

‘Corridors of Light' of Bhartendu Harischandra was a rhythmic presentation of how a seeker lands himself in a realm of effulgence in his innermost being after making sincere attempts. No heart can conceive Meerabai's wonderment at the end of her search for truth and Josh Malihabadi's rarefied experience conveyed brilliantly through Aditi's swift and fast swirls and abhinaya. She displayed her sense of rhythm and solid nritta in portraying Jalalludin Rumi's mysticism with full of bhava and emotion. With her powerful feminine presence on the stage Aditi Mangaldas showcased her artistry by her theermanams, body language and jatis in Kabir. The ‘Ultimate search for the Essence' was a fitting finale to her attempt to transform poetry into images and emotions. Conceived and choreographed by Aditi, the costume design and colours were refractions of bhava appropriate to rhythm and ambience to achieve the transformation of the individual soul.

Conceived and choreographed by Aditi Mangaldas, the orchestra included Yogesh Gangani (tabla), Mahavir Gangani (pakhwaj), Ayyub (Sarangi), Chandresh Pandey (vocal) and Vinod Gangani (vocal and harmonium). Besides Aditi, the cast included Gauri Diwakar, Anindita Acharjee, Dheerendra Tiwari, Rachana Yadav, Piyush Chauhan and Jyoti Manral.

It was a pleasant experience to listen to an impressive performance of Shivkumar Sharma on the santoor to the accompaniment of Anindar Chatterjee on the tabla on the second day of the fest. The artist's exquisite presentation of raag Jinjoti cast a spell on the listeners. The meditative quality of music was in tune with the spiritual ambience of the Isha yoga centre. The next number from the Himalayan folklore in raag Pahadi augured well for a rasa-filled experience. The audience was spellbound by the rain of notes emanating from his instrument. Anindar Chatterjee on the tabla provided matching tonal and rhythmic support.

Dripping with melody

Three generations of violinists — Dr. N. Rajam, daughter Sangeetha Shankar and granddaughters Ragini and Nandini — showcased their mastery over both Carnatic and Hindustani styles at the Isha Celestial festival of music and dance. They were accompanied by Ojas Yogesh Adiya on the tabla.

The trio captured the nuances of the ragas and the melodic charm of the numbers which they played. The meditative mood of Yaman Kalyan (Kalyani in Carnatic music) gathered momentum and the artists showed the difference between the ragas taking four notes in the tantrakari and gayaki styles. After the rendition of Desh in Carnatic style, the trio showcased their artistry in playing the bhajan ‘Paoji Maine Ram Ratan', Bhairavi in Hindustani and Sindhubhairavi in Carnatic. The young siblings deserve kudos for their deft bowing.

Ustad Sayeeduddin Dagar entertained the audience with Dhrupad music. His winsome presentation of a twelve-beat composition in Khambodi starting with a Ganesa sthuti followed another number in raag Chandrakauns, which had polish and was characterised by phrases of seamless quality. He was accompanied by Mohan Shyam Sharma on the tabla.

Priyadarsini Govind and Anjana Anand presented ‘Sivanai Patri' which eulogised the attributes of Siva, drawn from the lives of Sambandar and Thirunavukkarasar. After the invocatory item on Lord Dakshinamurthi, Priyadarsini explored the shringara rasam in ‘Inda Siddhar Yaaro’. ‘Kuyile Ilam Kuyile' relating to Gnanasambandar was depicted by Anjana with sensitivity and maturity. The free flowing arm movements, meticulously executed postures and quick changes in expressions of both the dancers were arresting. Priyadarsini's ‘Aaraar Aasaippadaar' (Muthu Thandavar) portrayed wonder and surrender. Anchored by Gowri Ramanarayan, her prefatory observations were couched in a racy style punctuated with humour. The orchestra included Savitha Narasimhan (vocal), Murari (violin), Sakthivel (mridangam) and Balakrishnan (nattuvangam).

The flute recital of Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia, who was accompanied by Yogesh on the tabla and Bhawani Shankar (pakhwaj), was unique for more reasons than one. His rendition of a devotional composition welcoming the moon in Bhoopali with an alap and jhod dripped in melody. The jap taal of ten beats and the succeeding Dwijavanti had soulful Hindustani flavour. The concluding items in Durga and Pahadi were mesmerising.