Musical concert by Kasturi Kamaladeepti was technically perfect but lacked soul.
Going by the technicalities of Carnatic music, a concert rendered in faultless tala, laya and swara gyana (knowledge) has to be perfect. But it isn't necessarily so. Underlying these textual norms of singing is another layer called ‘rasa' which has no form, only feeling. A musician who is capable of creating this feeling in the listener has what we call a ‘reach.' And such a musician stands out among his peers. Any person trained in the art of classical music for a period of ten years can render the textbook criteria to the T. But to make a difference, the artiste must be able to hold the audience and make a heartfelt impression. Though it is the ears that enjoy the sound of music, it is finally the heart that feels rich music and the ultimate aim of classical music is just that.
Kasturi Kamaladeepti's recent recital was an experiment in technical singing. She showed her prowess with different tala structure, raga alapana, neraval and so on. Not to say, she fell short in all of these. The long winding alapana in Karaharapriya established the raga nuances and seemed to open the gateway to the kriti but failed to reach the audience. The rendition of Sri Rama Kondanda Rama was undecipherable after the opening lines unless one already knew the song by heart. Somewhere down the line, one could glean something as legible as Dasarathudu aanadu chesina as she began her neraval. The same went on with all the kritis like Bhavayami Raghuramam in Ragamalika or Kalyana Rama in Hamsanandam or the more easy flowing Rama jogi mandu (Ramadas kriti in Kamas). The style of rendition is like a chopper taking off. The pitch was rather high that made everything else unintelligible. Clarity in lyric was the last thing one could ask for in this vocalist. The kalpana swaras reeled out in succession before we could savour the Hamsanandam. Her creativity with the raga was far more relaxed as she meandered through the rest of the concert. By and large, the rendition was like a chase - vehement in tone, rapid in execution and totally devoid of diction. Having said this much, where is the scope to even mention the term ‘bhava'?
The percussionist Burra Sriram and violinist K. Saikumar were more pronounced and steady given their limitations and scope to showcase their skill. Sriram's tani elicited applause. Young, up and coming artistes should realise that educating the audience with a brief on each kriti would in turn win them a world of appreciation. The concert was organised by Vignana Samithi (Pitti Kalyana Mandapam, Anandnagar) in memory of its founder Vemuri Mukteswara Rao.