Sikkil Gurucharan's style was classically exemplary, and meticulously encompassed within a traditional framework
Sikkil Gurucharan's concert organised by Ramabhyudaya Sabha in Myore recently was indeed scholarly and lively. The young singer, endowed with a rich supple voice, delivers the tunes couched in a style classically exemplary, meticulously encompassed within a traditional framework. He traverses the needed sthayis with admirable ease, and the sonorous voice modulates well, giving realisation to his imagination and competence. Any composition on hand would receive its due attention from the singer who would regard even the minute details as having immense significance in the process of interpreting those works. It was interesting to watch how artistically he developed the sangathis with an intention of complementing the central theme of the lyrics.
Importance given to the pauses (in relevant areas), control over the volume (to suit the expressions) and effecting subtle graces (to strengthen the overall mood) while narrating compositions like “Lavanya Rama” (Purnashadja-Thyagaraja), “O Rama Ni Naamam” (Purvikalyani-Bhadrachala Ramadas) and “Maakelara Vichaaramu” (Ravichandrika -Thyagaraja) transfixed the audience.Nevertheless, a comparison between the moods in the alapana in Chandrika and the swarakalpana for the corresponding lyrics (“Maakelara Vichaaramu”) revealed their impacts diverging noticeably: whereas, alapana fully complemented the lyrics, kalpanaswaras did not.
Thyagaraja is learnt to have composed this krithi at a ripe age of reclusion and introspection, and any attempt at interpreting and beautifying a composition of such intellectual maturity warranted an equally thorough attention to its contemplative content.
In the present instance, the singer seemed to have overlooked this background while framing kalpanaswaras: the strains worked predominantly as a testimony to his scholarship than a means of supporting the prime theme.
To continue with the merits: Gurucharan expatiated Simhendramadhyama (“Rama Rama Gunaseema”-Swathi Thirunal) ranging over the three octave, infusing into it both energy and majesty. He commenced in a slow tempo, interspersing it with movements in medium speeds; aesthetically and gradually, he led the listeners to series of climaxes in proportion with the speeds and pitches in progressive increments.
A few strains of invigorating thaanas, further accompanied by the inspired violinist and percussionists, demonstrated the singer's grit on the one hand and the accompanists' readiness to acknowledge and reciprocate such artistic feats on the other. “Rama Rama Gunaseema” being the focus, the singer satiated the audience with meaningfully expanded neraval at “Munimaanasadhama” (charana), and tastefully improvised swaraprastara.
Continuous noisy thumping of hands on the thighs by the artiste (to keep an account of the thala patterns) seriously distracted peaceful listening.
Violinist H.K. Venkataram closely followed the singer's tone and tenor, and the percussionists — H.S. Sudhindra on mridanga and G.S. Ramanujan on the ghata — softened their beats in tune with the gentleness of the progressions. Thani avarthana comprised neatly framed korvais and attractively executed mukthayas.
“Ninnu Kori” (Varna-Mohana-Ramanathapuram Shrinivasa Iyengar), “Dasharatha Sutha” (Jhonpuri -Vanamali Jivarswami) and a thillana were other highlights.