Bharat Sangeet Utsav, a six-day extravaganza recently held in Coimbatore, showcased traditional and contemporary music.

Carnatica and Sri Parthaswamy Sabha in association with Sri Krishna Sweets and L&T Financial Services organised Bharat Sangeet Utsav recently at Sarojini Nataraj Auditorium, Coimbatore.

The six-day musical event, inaugurated by Balarishi Vishweshwarasini, featured traditional and fusion music concerts as well as classical dance programmes. The packed hall bore witness to the huge popularity of this annual utsav.

The curtain raiser was Nithyasree Mahadevan’s vocal concert that went on the expected lines with detailed delineations of ragas and highly energetic swaraprastaras.

Nithyasree began with ‘Sri Maha Ganapathim Bhajeham’ in Atana and presented ‘Shambho Mahadeva’ in Bowli by Neelakanta Sivan. ‘Maa Dayai Nidhi Ennum’ in Vasantha and ‘Nidhi Chaala Sukhamaa’ in Kalyani were rendered with ample ornamentation.

‘Narayanaya Namo,’ ‘Raamanai Bhajithal’ and ‘Tamboori Meetidhava’ were the delightful tail-enders.

Experienced accompanists, M.A. Krishnaswamy on the violin, I. Sivakumar on the mridangam and H. Sivaramakrishnan on the ghatam gave her excellent support.

Sowkhya bhava was predominant in Sangeetha Sivakumar’s singing. Her Varali for ‘Maamava Meenakshi’ and Sankarabharanam for ‘Enthuku Peddalavale’ were full of raga bhava and depth. Niraval for the line, ‘Syame Shankari’ was particularly impressive. Her repertoire, that day, included the majestic ‘Swaminatha Paripalaya’ and ‘Sri Valli Devasenapathe’ as well as the endearing ‘Poonguyil Koovum Poonjolai.’ B.U. Ganesh Prasad’s violin was melodious. Melakkaveri Balaji on the mridangam and N. Guruprasad on the ghatam showcased their talent and experience.

‘Carnatic Jazz,’ the fusion of Carnatic vocal and Prof. Mark Stone’s world percussion offered a unique experience. The Carnatica Brothers – K.N. Shashikiran and P. Ganesh – began with Balamurali Krishna’s ‘Siddhim Dehi Me’ in the raga Siddhi. Mark Stone played a composition that he had made up for his little daughter. The brothers joined Mark with Dikshitar’s nottuswarams that blended beautifully with the western instrument. When Mark Stone played his guru’s composition on the xylophone and Ganesh followed him on the Chitravina with ‘Swagatham Krishna,’ the gap between the east and the west became narrow and eventually disappeared. Vijayagopal on the flute gave it melodic smoothness and Sundar Kumar lifted it with his mridangam and ganjira playing them alternately . The swara session for ‘Paavana Guru’ was captivating . The RTP was in Rasikapriya, and the pallavi in English, ‘Music is all about happiness……….’ was different. The concert concluded brilliantly with ‘Vaara Banthammaa Guruvaara Banthamma’.

Abhishek Raghuram was at his effusive best during raga delineations. After the varnam in Nattakkurinji, he rendered Tyagaraja’s Pancharatna kriti in Arabhi, ‘Saadhinchane.’ ‘Swararaaga Sudha Rasa’ in Sankarabharanam dominated in the centre piece bringing out the best from him and the accompanists. His bursting swara challenges were met with élan by Sathyanarayanan who could coax the keyboard into portraying the tender nuances of the ragas. Ananta R. Krishnan joined them on the mridangam to complete the joyous vibrancy.

Vijay Siva’s clear diction never fails to impart aural pleasure to those who have a keen ear for lyrical beauty. Asaveri and Sama were elaborated briefly while Kalyani was portrayed in all her splendour. ‘Guruguhaaya Bhaktaanugrahaaya’ in Sama with swarakalpanas was soothing. Within the two hours, he included a virutham (‘Paal Ninainthoottum’) and a sloka (Adi Sankara’s ‘Siva Kevaloham’) too. Young Charumathi Raghuraman on the violin showed great potential and Mannarkoil J. Balaji gave solid support on the mridangam.

Sriram Parasuram and Anooradha Sriram’s lively concert held the interest of the rasikas till the end. Their explanation made even the first-time listener of Hindustani music feel quite at home. They rendered ‘Soch Samajh Re Sajna’ in Hindustani and followed it with ‘Swaminatha Paripalaya’ in Nattai. ‘Ram Niranjan Nyaaraa Re’ set in Nirguni Maund was thought-provoking. Carnatic Atana and Hindustani Adana were demonstrated with ‘Nee Irangaayenil’ and ‘Maataa Kaalika.’ Ambika Prasad on the violin and Umakant Puranik on the harmonium gave admirable support. The fireworks by B. Sundar Kumar on the mridangam and Udayaraj Karpur on the tabla won them appreciation.