The Kalpathy Music Festival 2012 was a tribute to yesteryear vaggeyakaras, with each day of the festival dedicated to a legendary composer.
The Silver Jubilee celebrations of the Kalpathy Music Festival in Palakkad featured artistes hailing from various legacies.
The opening day was dedicated to the royal musician-composer of erstwhile Travancore, Swati Tirunal. Flautist Shashank’s rendition of Ata tala varnam in Kambhoji set the mood for the evening followed by ‘Deva deva kalayamithe’ in Mayamalavagoula, Roopakam. Tyagaraja’s ‘Bantureethi kolu’ in Hamsanadam and Adi had improvisations with racy swaras, and concluding notes of some of the phrases were adorned with folk interpretations.
After ‘Janani ninnu vina’ in Reethigoula, the flautist moved on to a RTP session of Poorvikalyani. Commencing with his mid-range flute, the second session of the Raga alapana was handled with the bass flute. Although vibratos added lustre to his soothing notes, some of them were unnecessary. Amidst the performance, Shashank demonstrated some techniques of playing the instrument. He said that two octaves could be combined in the same range and that different notes could be played while maintaining the breath control without even changing the fingers.
The recital was wound up with Swati’s ‘Bhogeendrasayinam’ (Kuntalavarali), ‘Viswesara’ (Sindhubhairavi), ‘Chinnanchirukiliye’ (Ragamalika) and ‘Raghuvamsasudha (Kathanakuthoohalam).
Trivandrum Sampath on the violin found it a little difficult to match him. Anticipatory percussion accompaniment was provided by Sai Giridhar and Manjoor Unnikrishnan on the mridangam and the ghatam, respectively.
The second day was in remembrance of Annamacharya. Starting with an Adi tala varnam in shuddha rishabha raga Saveri, Vamanan Namboodiri essayed Hamsadhwani for ‘Vandeham jagath vallabham’. Next was ‘Mamava sada janani’ in Kanada and Roopakam. To exhibit a contrast in melody, a composition in the vivadi (dissonance) raga was chosen – ‘Bhagayanayya’ in Chandrajyothi. A crisp ‘Vaade Venkataadri vara dhaivamu’ in Vasanta was an apt prelude to the detailed ‘Ennalu ulake’ in Shubhapanthuvarali.
Perfect accompaniment was provided by Nedumangad Sindhu, R. Vaidyanathan and Kovai Suresh on the violin, the mridangam and the ghatam respectively.
He commenced with a Viruttham in Sriraga that led to the Adi tala varnam. ‘Vathapi Ganapathim’ was dealt with swara improvisations in doublets. As it was Muthuswami Dikshitar Day, Santhanagoplam took up the composer’s ‘Ramanatham Bhajeham’ in Kamavardhani and ‘Chethasri Balakrishnam’ in Dwijavanthi for detailed elaboration.
Good tani statements between K.V. Prasad on the mridangam and Perukavu Sudheer on the ghatam were tagged to ‘Chethasri Balakrishnam’. R.K. Shriram Kumar, who provided a supportive accompaniment hitherto, rushed a little bit. The recital was concluded with a tillana in Behag and a Tiruppugazh in Madhyamavathi. Although the concert adhered to tradition, Santhanagopalam's recital didn’t rise up to expectations.
On the day earmarked for the father of Carnatic Music, Purandaradasa, Ranjini Guruprasad, earlier known as Ranjini Hebbar, came out with an outstanding performance. This was the best among the line-up of this year’s festival.
Right from the beginning of the Adi tala varnam in Kedaragoula, the recital was marked by her erudition. The interpretation of raga Lalitha had the audience spellbound as the passages of notes was flawless. Displaying a conscious contrast of tempo, she chose ‘Bantureethi’ in the soulful Hamsanadam, which was embellished with crowning codas of swaras in doublets. The major attraction of her recital was Tyagaraja’s ‘Dinamani vamsa’ in Harikambhoji and Adi. A perfectly sruti-aligned detailing of the raga, supportive following of Sreenivasa Rao on the violin, and a delectable tani of Ganapathi Raman and Udupi Sreedhar on the mridangam and the ghatam respectively were the highlights of this piece. She also added a RTP to her repertoire. It was in Panthuvarali and MisraTriputa. Devarnamas of Purandaradasa in Ghorak Kalyan and Darbari Kanada, ‘Sarangam marugane saveri balakane’ (ragamalika), Tillana in Dhanasree and Jayadeva’s Ashtapadi in Yaman Kalyan showcased her consummate artistry.
Paying homage to the saint-composer Tyagaraja, the fifth day of the festival featured a concert of Surya Prakash, a disciple of T.V. Sankaranarayanan. He opened his session with a varnam in Kalyani and moved on to ‘Tatwam ariya tharama’ in Reethigoula and Adi. ‘Visalakshy viswesi’ in Panthuvarali could have been avoided as the lyrics was a repetition of the previous day’s performer’s choice. A detailed rendition of Sankarabharana was a prelude to ‘Endukku pedala’.
But for a thumping tani designed by B. Harikumar and Alathur Rajaganesh that enthralled the listeners, Surya Prakash’s recital was nothing special and R. Swaminathan’s responses on the violin lagged.
Kanyakumari’s concert was on the last day, which was dedicated to Syama Sasthri. She used a pickup for her instrument that demanded excessive bass and reverb from the mixing console which destroyed the rapport among her concomitants as they handled acoustic instruments.
‘Dharini thelusukonti’ in Suddhasaveri and Adi was pleasing. Alapana of Dwijavanthi for ‘Ramachandruditadu’ lacked sustenance of bows. ‘Nenenduvedukudura’ in Karnataka Behag and ‘Marivere’ in Anandabhairavi were laudable.
Tyagaraja’s composition ‘Chakkani raja’ in Kharaharapriya, set to Adi, was dealt with in detail. Her disciple Padma Krishnan provided back-up. Patri Satheeshkumar on the mridangam, Tripunithura Radhakrishnan on teh ghatam and B.S. Purushothaman on the ganjira elevated the standard of the concert.