Carnatic music is constantly being energised, in many new ways. Across oceans are heard kritis old and new, rendered by the young and the old, bridging homeland traditions. A laudable effort was recently launched in Singapore, by Chennai’s Kartik Fine Arts, in association with the Singapore Indian Fine Arts Society, to promote Carnatic music. The entire concept has been funded and realised by Ayyappan of Singapore, himself a great devotee of Mysore Ganapati Sachidanada, who was known for his love for music. The Chennai Sabha has suggested a list of artists who will perform in Singapore, and in turn plans are afoot to provide a platform for young artists from Singapore, during the December Music Season in Chennai.
Rithvik Raja was the invited singer from Chennai, and he was accompanied by M. Vijay on the violin, Praveen Kumar on the mridangam, and Chandrasekara Sarma on the ghatam. The ensemble had a joyous youthfulness, reminding one of the mop-topped Beatles. A very melodious violin gave good support to Rithvik, as did the percussion. Rithvik was actually very generous in his time-sharing, given that the duration of the concert was only about two hours.
The varnam in Sri was sung well, paving the way for ‘Janakiramana,’ in Suddhaseemandini. Kharaharapriya alapana was followed by ‘Rama Nee Samanamevaru,’ and both the raga and song were rendered with confidence. Bahudari had a touch of the intricate, in the short raga exposition. Attractive swaras lent brightness to the concert, and the neat presentation was sans frills, histrionics and the dreaded nasal touch. Rithvik certainly seems to have absorbed the best from his guru, T.M. Krishna, and is carving a distinct niche of his own. The choice of traditional ragas, and compositions, did give one the feeling that Rithvik listens to a lot of the great T.N. Rajaratnam Pillai’s nagaswaram.
A comprehensive tani followed, with both the young artists doing justice to it. ‘Govardana Giridhara’ in Darbari Kanada was all there was time left for, and a sprightly Hamsanandi ‘Tiruppugazh’ brought the evening to a close, a bit too soon.
The veena recital of Kavita Jayaraman, saxophone by G. Ramanathan, and vocal by Sushma Somasekaran comprised the rest of this two-day offering in Singapore, on July 27 and 28. L. Sabaretnam of Kartik Fine Arts was present for this ‘Isai Sangamam.’