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Updated: May 27, 2010 20:18 IST

A summer of ragas

VENKATESAN SRIKANTH
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Mumbai Lakshmi Rajagopalan in performance. Photo: R. Ashok
The Hindu Mumbai Lakshmi Rajagopalan in performance. Photo: R. Ashok

Lakshmi Rajagopalan and N. Sridhar gave Delhiites a welcome rain of Carnatic concerts.

The simmering heat wave in the Capital seems to be unabated. Two middle-aged vocalists, who performed recently in New Delhi may not have been able to give residents respite from the weather, but they certainly rained joy with their Carnatic music on the rasikas. The Mumbai-based Lakshmi Rajagopalan and the Chennai- based N. Sridhar, in two separate concerts, delighted the rasikas with their musical skills.

While Lakshmi was featured in the HCL Concert Series by The India Habitat Centre , N. Sridhar was part of the Delhi Tamil Sangam monthly concert series.

Lakshmi's opening pieces itself, the varnam and the invocation song, were very impressive and indicative of her talent. Shyama Sastri's ‘Maayammayeni' in raga Ahiri underwent fine treatment and Lakshmi could bring out the emotive contents of the lyrics to the fore. Lakshmi took up Tyagaraja's ‘Ramanannu brovara' in raga Harikambhoji for a detailed presentation. Apart from a fine delineation of the raga, Lakshmi excelled in neraval and swaraprastharas too. Pattnam Subramanya Iyer's ‘Marivere dikkevaraiya' in raga Shanmukhapriya was the central item of Lakshmi's recital. Here again, it was an impressive presentation, but for the hurried execution of the neraval and the swaraprastharas.

Lakshmi's post-tani avartanam session too was lively. The viruthum followed by the Tamil composition ‘Karunai pozhiyum kangal'in raga Hamsanandi was scintillating. Badrachala Ramadas' ‘Ramakrishna govinda' in raga Brindhavana Saranga was a fitting finish to her recital.

Delhi-based R. Sridhar on the violin and K. N. Padmanabhan on the mridangam provided understanding support to the visiting Mumbai artiste and contributed significantly. However, youngster Sridhar should try to restrict the time taken to delineate ragas when it is his turn and within this time should bring out the essence of the ragas. Instead, he seemed to be vying for an equal time as taken by the vocalist to delineate ragas.

Sadly, no representative of the organisers was present to either introduce the artistes or to present bouquets to them. A member of the audience, who happens to be a Delhi-based musician, however, volunteered to do this. But, even this was not without presentation errors.

Gifted with a very good voice, N. Sridhar's recital at the Delhi Tamil Sangam comprised mainly compositions of the little known composer Madurai V. Kamakshi. ‘Saraswathi Deviye' a composition of Kamakshi in raga Saraswati was well presented. While presenting ‘Sree Krishna' another composition of Kamakshi in raga Kalyana Vasantham, Sridhar brought out the emotive aspects of the raga as well as the lyrics to the fore.

‘Kankanda deivam' yet another composition of this composer in raga Dhanyasi, was preceded by a fine sketch of this raga. The neraval of the phrase ‘Gunaseelamthannil arulum prasanna venkatesa' and the subsequent swaraprasthras brought out his creative talents to the fore.

Earlier, ‘Sabapathiku' a composition of Gopala Krishna Barathi in raga Abhogi too was well presented. Tyagaraja's ‘Pakkala nilabadi' in raga Kharaharapriya formed the central item of Sridhar's recital and in this presentation, his depth in concert music was revealed. A detailed and good sketch of this raga and creative swaraprastharas were other noteworthy aspects in this item.

V.S.K. Annadurai assisted ably in his violin accompaniment. His brief sketch of raga Dhanyasi and a somewhat detailed sketch of raga Kharaharapriya were delightful. Sadly, the percussion support of P. Vetribupathy (mridangam) and V. Gokul (Ghatam) lacked professional touch.


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