The concert sparkled in brief spells.
The double professional Shankar Ramani failed to do justice to his second profession, music. The concert was well planned but suffered in execution as Shankar struggled to stay afloat.
The Kedaragowla varnam and ‘Vandeham' (Hamsadhwani) contributed to a colourless start. The concert dived further with ‘Bagayanayya' (Chandrajyoti, Tyagaraja), a choice which Shankar would have rued later. Its relatively flat swara structure did not help matters.
There was a brief sparkle in Oothukadu's ‘Vishati Vishati' in Gowri Manohari, a lovely composition set to misra chapu.
With a malleable voice and an enjoyable rendition of Shanmukhapriya, Shankar managed to cut his losses. The Dikshitar kriti, ‘Ekambresa Nayakeem' barely embraced the musical value of the song. Niraval and swaras at ‘Kanchi Nagara Nivasini' that hovered in the lower octaves, were also sub-par.
Shankar's viruttam with ragas such as Madhuvanti and Mohanam briefly shouted aloud his latent capabilities.
The violinist, Venkatasubramaniam, played with fine balance but the percussionists Shankaranarayanan (mridangam) and Chandrasekara Sharma (ghatam) were completely off colour and generally intrusive.
Shankar would perhaps take away very little stakes from this concert.
Youngsters are racing away in this circuit, with great dedication and purpose. Shankar will need to work harder to stay in.