SICA presented the best of the season concerts with an enlivening recital by Trichur Brothers.
The South Indian Cultural Association's (SICA) foundation day concert ushered in the new wave of Carnatic musicians and the best this year, Trichur Brothers — Srikrishna Mohan and Ramkumar Mohan.
It was a perfect concert from the word go. The viriboni varnam (ata talam) which began in the regular groove, escalated to the tisram and then to the high speed octave making for an excellent exposition. Having established their credentials, the duo's choice of ragas and kritis were delectable. The kriti Vallabha nayaka in Begada with jatis engraved like lattice work opened the gates to wondrous outpour of music for the next two-and-half hours. The upper octave tone at Mallisha with the lower octave immediately trailing it was a piece of artistic ingenuity. The Begada madhyamam was made evident at every stage as they treaded their way through the improvisations in their mellifluous and voices. The swara structure was laid with elan with the bhava (emotive quotient) oozing with each pattern. The violin replay by K.L.N. Murthy at this juncture was melodic. But that was not consistent as the recital proceeded further.
It had to be Endaro mahanubhavulu.. (Pancharatna kriti) in Sri to further enhance our joy. The beautiful rendition with the tone and tenor intact throughout the lengthy lyric authenticated their command over the medium. A kriti of Dikshitar belonging to the Panchalinga group of his compositions, Jambupathe mam paahi… in Yamuna-Kalyani sung to vilamba kaalam was sung to soulful tunes with the elongation of the syllables as if separating each word with a crystal clear diction. Their singing was suffused with piety and a tinge of pathos that went well with the devotional element within the composition. Yamuna Kalyani seemed to be embellished by their rendition rather than vice-versa. The Nenarunchinanu.. with its chittaswaram in Malavi in fast tempo made for a good relief after we savoured Dikshitar. The lines aakalilo maatalu were so poignantly presented, despite the speed, showing us the duo's unique way of handling, whatever be the pace.
Sadachaleswaram bhavaye..Marakatha mani maya chela…
Seasoned musicians, young or elderly, should better abstain from seeking the audience choice when it comes to the central piece or regular repertoire. For one, this is classical music arena where the musician's choice and rendition has to be appreciated and not vice-versa. It is bound to disturb their scheme of things and in all probability mar the recital to a certain extent. When given a choice with an underlying suggestion of a full extent kriti rendition as an alternative, the audience chose ragam, tanam, pallavi which has become a norm these days with the listeners. The duo courteously began the ragam; the alapana explored the contours of the emotive Karaharapriya in their refined voices. Srikrishna's sancharam in the upper octave essayed the aesthetic structure of this raga while Ramkumar dwelt on the finer nuances further elaborating it, making for a consistently wondrous experience. The tanam was steady and smooth sans histrionics in the three octaves and then the unexpected happened. They did not get into the pallavi, as RTP would have it. Instead they launched into the soul-stirring Rama nee samanamevaru…. The sangathis topped one another highlighting the depth of this kriti. Paluku palukulaku tene.. which came for a neraval treatment was technically brilliant but with a minor flaw (could be major considering this is a Telugu land). The phrase got distorted in division of notes/syllables and hence the meaning bounced. The duo's unfamiliarity with the intricacies of Telugu language made them delink the second ‘palukulaku' and link the ‘laku' with ‘tene' (honey), which sounded a bit odd especially in the first round of neraval. As luck would have it, this got adjusted as the neraval took to oscillations before they landed into the swarakalpana stage. The striking ‘daivatham' in the first round of swara play by Srikrishna was superb. Their creative output individually, alternately and in unison was like a ‘serve and volley' – exciting, enduring and enriching. The mukhtayi took us to the pinnacle and tizzied into a seamless pickup of the lyric at the point where they had begun, a creditable piece of artistry. Taniavarthanam was marked by a stylistic display of the finest nuances in laya in Trichur R Mohan's dexterous fingers. Nemani Somayajulu on the ghatam got inspired to deliver his best and it was indeed so with the subtle nuances propping up in his adroit hands. The percussion was like a dialogue to say the least but an optimum one.
The concert held at Ravindra Bharati reiterated Trichur Brothers as authentic classicists of the next generation.