The three-day Kala Sangamam Cultural Festival jointly organised by the Tiruchi Kendra of the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan and Rotary Club of Tiruchi Shakthi at Thevar Hall, provided a good opportunity to the music lovers of Tiruchi to enjoy different genres.

The festival commenced with Mangala Dhwani, by nagaswaram experts Kasim and Babu, grandsons of renowned Sheik Chinna Moulana.

For the first time in Tiruchi, Kasim-Babu presented their concert with three different percussion instruments - thavil, ghatam and ganjira. It was a unique combination and was well received. Maestros Tiruppungur T.G. Muthukumarasamy (thavil), V. Suresh (ghatam) and B.S. Purushotham (ganjira) were the accompanists.

Brisk varnam

After an excellent introduction about Mangala Dhwani by Kasim, they began their concert with a brisk varnam in Nattakurinji, rendered in two speeds. After the varnam the duo went on to render one of the five gems of Tyagaraja, ‘Endharo Mahanubhavulu,' in Sri Ragam, before presenting a pleasing alapana of Hemavathy by Kasim.

The sustained karvais, a well codified structure, and the prayogas offered with calm deliberation contributed to the impressive presentation of the composition, ‘Sivanukkilaya' by Mayavaram Viswanatha Sastri. This was followed by Arunachala Kavirayar's popular composition , ‘Ramanukku Mannanmudi' in Hindolam.

The main piece was ‘Sarojadalanetri' in Sankarabharanam by Syama Sastri. The colourful phrases in the development of the raga by Babu were firmly ensconced in the ethos of tradition. The sensitive modulation in the blowing, alternating between the soft and the strong, were worthy of positive assessment.

Kasim and Babu are noted for raga alapana and the kriti rendering in Gayaki style and this was experienced by all while listening to the kriti, ‘Sarojadalanetri.' On public demand, the duo rendered Papanasam Sivan's popular kriti, ‘Ennathavam Seidhanai' in Kapi, which was marked by devotional fervour. The duo concluded the concert with the patriotic song ‘Jeyathi Jeyathi Bharatha Matha' in Khamas.

The rhythmic accompaniment by Muthukumarasamy, V. Suresh and Purushotham was of a high order.

The three accompanists were brilliant and mesmerised the audience throughout the concert.

Remembering Bharati

Roja Kannan and troupe presented ‘Meendum Bharathiyar' a dance drama on the second day. ‘Bhaaratha Samudaayam Vaazhgavay' is an attempt by four dancers – Roja Kannan, Priya Murle, N. Srikanth and Aswathy Srikanth belonging to three different styles – to bring out the greatness of Subramanya Bharati's genius by giving his verses a visual dimension.

The production is a creative tapestry of the various hues and moods of Bharatiyar's lyrics on women's liberation, patriotism, religious sentiments, forces of nature and love for Bharatanatyam and the dance theatre format.

The highlight of this presentation is the medley of the most popular songs of Bharatiyar strung together. This is the 49th time that the dancers came together to present this production.

On the final day, Sriram and Anooradha Sriram presented a jugalbandhi concert, where the two systems of Indian classical music - Carnatic and Hindustani – blended together to weave a beautiful musical carpet.

The aritsts maintained the highest traditional standards of these two music systems and there was no mixing of the styles. Carnatic and Hindustani ragas, kritis and khayal, thumris and padams, thillanas and taraanas, all shining in their own unique brilliance, yet came together to create the most wonderful sound scape that is Indian classical music.

Ambikaprasad on the violin, Umakant Puranik on the harmonium, Serthalai Ananthakrishnan on the mridangam and Paynadath Jain on the tabla gave able support.