A dance performance and two music recitals were held as part of Soorya Monsoon Festival in Kochi.

Soorya Monsoon Festival proved to be a true delight to art aficionados in Kochi. The festival opened with a Bharatanatyam performance by Lavanya Ananth. Her recital was a display of fine dancing talent marked by vigour and precision.

A disciple of gurus K.G. Sarasa and S.K. Rajaratnam, Lavanya presented the famed varnam of Dandayuthapani Pillai ‘Samiyai Azhaithodi vaa’ that stood out for neat and dynamic jathis. The dancer really scored well in the ‘nritta’ aspect and was at her best in controlled mid-tempo and simple teermanams.

Lavanya’s depiction of the lovelorn maiden in the Khamas javali ‘Apudu Manasu’ left much to be desired. The sense of involvement, which is central to good abhinaya, was lacking. ‘Bhaskaram’, which took verses from the ‘Sooryashtakam’, brought alive the many aspects of the Sun God. The splendour of the god who wears white lotuses, drives a chariot of seven white horses, and is worshiped by Brahma and Vishnu was sketched out admirably.

The second day opened to a musical performance titled ‘Mohanaraga Sandhya’ by a music group called ‘Swaranjali’. The programme presented the different shades of popular raga Mohanam through famous Carnatic and movie compositions. While ‘Kapali’, ‘Mohanarama’ and ‘Pahisreehare’ pleased with their classicism, it also took the listeners to vintage music of the movies with hits such as ‘Manjani Poonilavu’, ‘Keshadipadam Thozhunnen’, ‘Swargaputhri Navarathri’ and ‘Jyoti Kalash Jhalke’. The event was presented by eight singers. Varying tempos could have heightened the aesthetic appeal of the performance.

Ramesh Narayan’s Hindustani music concert on the final day began with an obeisance to the late ghazal maestro Mehdi Hassan and Ramesh sang a few strains of his ghazal in Malhar. The concert featured many variants of the raag Malhar, which celebrates the monsoon.

Hallmark of his style

Ramesh Narayan’s main presentation was Miyan Malhar and the vilambit khayal ‘Baba Tope Barsat Karam’. Extensive use of sargams is the hallmark of the vocalist’s style and he supplemented this with a couple of swift taans in the drut khayal ‘Ghan Garjat Barsat Boond Boond’. Keshav Joshi supported the vocalist well on the tabla.

Ramesh gave a peek into the original weightier bandish ‘Bol Re Papaiyara’, which later became a popular film number in the same raag. After Dhuliya Malhar, the vocalist expounded the less popular Ramdasi Malhar in a bandish ‘Sawan Ki Barkha Aayi’.

He took to some moorchana to Gujri Todi as he sang ‘Garaj Garaj Ghan Garajat Aayo’ in Shudh Malhar. Before concluding with a tarana, Ramesh presented a bandish by Swati Tirunal ‘Sanwaro Teri Murli Dhun Se’ in Megh raag.

The event was organised by Maithri, a non-governmental organisation involved in suicide-prevention activities.