The Trichur Brothers treated the audience to marvellously rendered set pieces
The dynamic Trichur Brothers seemed all set to prove a point — that they are classical to the core. No compromises were effected on that score when they took to a katcheri. Dipping their fingers into fusion would never dent their diligence in handling classical music.
The invocation to lord Ganapathi in Gowla set the tone for a flood of exclusive kritis to come. The chittaswara interlaced with ‘dharu’ was marvellously rendered. Ramkumar Mohan’s extensive improvisation gave the right impetus to the Dikshitar kriti. Going by the pulse of the audience of Gayana Samaja which was celebrating its 45th sangeetha sammelana, they launched into a Mysore Sadashiva Rao piece in Harikambhoji (Rupaka tala) and ‘Saketanagara natha, Srikaantha Jagannatha…’ took off with winding neraval at ‘raajitha amarapala Ramachandra bhoopala…’ which the duo alternately expanded as if testing their own prowess at the exposition.
The evening was just apt for an Amritavarshini (monsoon raga) , followed by the sweet and langorous Reetigowla and the royal Thodi which of course was the centrepiece. To serve a dikshitar with all the paraphernalia in absolute order is no mean achievement. Sri Krishna Mohan and Ramkumar lent a brilliance to the Amritavarshini exploring the contours of the raga with the violin maestro Sundaresan tracing it with his dexterous bowing. In the duo’s dulcet tones, the raga rained into the blissful Anandamrita varshini. The swarakalpana seemed to have just happened more by intuition than by design. The swara-sahitya at ‘Bhavadi pujithe Shive…’ was laya as its best. The brothers have an innate sync with rhythm which goes hand in hand with their adherence to sruti (sruti shuddam). The winding up (muktayi) by one brother as the other trailed off, vested the kriti with a new dimension.
The gently-soothing Reetigowla to the tunes of ‘Nannu vidache…Ramayya Rama’, was the real balm for the traffic-battered Banglorean. The diction and the intonation, the clarity of the sahitya was something to write home about. A Dasaranama (Lakshmikantha baaro) and they launched into the magnificient Thodi, the long-winding alapana coming to a close in the mandrasthayi by Ramkumar with telling effect. The violin faithfully reflected the nuances of the raga with Sundaresan’s brand of subtle virtuosity. Set to Triputa tala, ‘Enduku daya raadu ra…neeku’ flowed eloquent. The neraval and subsequent improvisation at ‘Thyagaraja vinutha , taraka charitha,’ though not as stupendous as the earlier kritis, nevertheless was explored to the fullest extent.
The brothers have yet to explore the possibilities of finer technicalities like the ‘yati’ in certain kritis which would further enrich their repertoire. The janta prayogas, the cluster of madhyamasthyayi prayogas in the manodharma which was all-enhancing, contributed to the aesthetic richness of the Thodi.
The cascading of crisp swara phraseology marked the madhyamasthyayi kalpana swara served as a testimony of their grip over the medium. When Trichur R Mohan is on the mridangam (invariably for the duo), the audience is spell-bound at the steady, smooth laya that seems to be under the control of his nimble fingers. There is never a moment of undue rise or fall. After Velur Ramabhadran, Trichur Mohan can be rated as an ace mridangist whose jatis are actually spelt out on his percussion, not with banging clarity but with gentle breezy touch. A ghatam would have proved to be an apt answer to the tani dialogue,yet SV Balakrishna did a neat job with the morsing.
The RTP was supposed to be brief but it managed to go full length with the tuneful prefacing of the Hindustani Jog, a late evening Audav (Pentatonic) raga was refreshing. The tanam was a vibrant but terse. The pallavi ‘Chetah Sri Ramam Chintaye…’ was laced with swara set to ragamalika that permeated the atmosphere with its fragrance. It had to be fittingly followed by the cadent Dwijavanthi towards the winding up of the recital with a few more soothingly mellow numbers setting the mood for a send-off.