It turned out to be an eventful week as the Bharat Sangeet Utsav, held in Coimbatore, provided a sumptuous treat for the rasikas.

Carnatica and Sri Krishna Sweets provided a sumptuous aural treat to the music rasikas of Coimbatore, during the Bharat Sangeet Utsav-2013. The week-long event started with an energetic namasankirtanam by the students of Sangeethakala Peetam School of Fine Arts, Tirupur. During her anugraha bhashanam, Swamini Vimalananda of Chinmaya Mission, Coimbatore, explained the significance of the word rasika. “A rasika, draws in the ‘rasa’, the joy of an art. An audience hears and spectators watch, but ‘rasikas’ enjoy,” she said.

The inaugural concert was by Ranjani and Gayathri. They began with ‘Sharanu Sidhi Vinayaka’ by Purandaradasa and followed it up with Thanjavur Sankara Iyer’s ‘Manasaaramathiyani Sivan Maganai’ in Saramathi. Dharmavati and Saveri were the main ragas that day. Mysore Vasudevachar’s ‘Bhajana Seya Radhaa’ was presented with an excellent alapana and elaborate niraval for the lines ‘Niravadhi Sukha Daayakuni.’ The languid and devout ‘Hecharikagaa Raa Raa’ in Yadhukula Khambodi was relaxing. The sisters brought out the soul of the moving kriti, ‘Kamakshi, Gowri, Kanchiura Nayaki’ (the main piece) in Saveri by Papanasam Sivan. The virutham preceding ‘Theruvadheppo Nenje’ in Khamas seemed to shake the rasikas from their complacence and forced them to think of God. They concluded with Eknath’s abhang, ‘Janma Janmi’ in Desh Kar, which is a varied version of Mohanam, with prayogas in the higher octave. M. Rajeev on the violin, Delhi Sairam on the mridangam and Chandrasekhara Sharma on the ghatam gave solid support.

T.V. Sankaranarayanan offered a good example of pure, traditional music. While it reminded the senior rasikas of his guru Madurai Mani Iyer, he could also keep their interest with his spirited singing. His favourite kriti ‘Indha Paaraamugam Ethu’ by Mayavaram Vedhanayakam Pillai in Purvikalyani was presented this year too, with an elaborate niraval for the line, ‘Nee Oru Silaiyo.’ The torrential swaraprastaras that followed and the equally brisk replies by Nagai Muralidharan on the violin were exhilarating. Kharaharapriya (‘Rama Nee Yeda’ by Tyagaraja) as the main raga for the day was a blend of aesthetics and talent. Even uninitiated rasikas were drawn in by Tiruchi Harikumar and Chandrasekhara Sharma’s dialogue during the thani.

Sikkil Gurucharan and Anil Srinivasan, accompanied by Megh Shyam on the tabla, presented their thematic concert ‘Pitambara,’ the following day. Anil’s informative and interesting introduction spoke of the deep research that had gone in this presentation. ‘Pitambara’ is Krishna, the one who wears yellow silk. The concert was in praise of Krishna and silk.

Gurucharan began with the sloka, ‘Peetaambaram Kara Virajitha’ and rendered Andal’s ‘Sitram Siru Kaale’. Anil narrated how a Chinese queen noticed the unravelling of thread when a silk cocoon accidentally fell into her tea cup. The surprised queen collected the strands, wove them and decorated her deity with it.

The spectacular main piece was in three parts — a prelude, an interlude and the main song. Johann Sebastian Bach’s prelude and ‘Broohi Mukundheti’ (an interlude) were presented by Anil on the piano. His mastery over the instrument lent classicism and Western flavour to the devotional concert on the Indian deity, Krishna. Megh Shyam’s brisk tabla added North Indian fragrance to Gurucharan’s Carnatic music. A charming mixture of Western Classical and Carnatic music followed, culminating in Dikshitar’s, ‘Kamalasana Vandita Padaabje’ on Kamakshi, the presiding deity of Kanchipuram — known for its silk.

Jayadeva’s last composition, ‘Vadasi Yadi Kinchidapi,’ supposedly co-authored by Lord Krishna himself, came alive in Gurucharan’s voice, duly supplemented by Anil’s narration and his piano. They concluded with Swati Tirunal’s thillana in Dhanashri.

T.M. Krishna’s vocal concert along with wife Sangita Sivakumar fell short of expectations. Krishna and Sangita, good musicians by themselves, could not impress when they sang together. Of course, before beginning the concert, Krishna confessed that he and his wife had different gurus and different patantharams. With a little more planning, the concert could have turned out better. Sangita began with the varnam, ‘Karunimpa,’ in Sahana and Krishna joined in. Dikshitar’s ‘Sri Maathrubhootham’ in Kannada was well-presented. Their elaborate RTP in Bhairavi with the pallavi, ‘Kamalasani Sundari Chandravadhani Karunaarasa Vilochani’ was good, with a lovely thanam by Akkarai Subbulakshmi. Arun Prakash on the mridangam and Guruprasad on the ghatam presented an enjoyable thani. However, this experiment was neither beneficial to the couple, nor the audience.

S. Saketharaman’s concert , rich in raga bhava, worked as a balm, the following day. He began with ‘Nee Irangaayenil Pugal Edhu’ in Atana. A pleasant alapana of Hindolam and then ‘Raamanukku Mannan Mudi’ by Arunachalakkavirayar, came forth. The niraval for ‘Pattam Katta Etravandi’ and the rain of swaras were highly appreciated. The grand RTP was in three ragas – Revathi, Sahana and Sivasakthi. The pallavi described the dancing of Siva and Shakti. The majestic Revathi was for Siva’s thandavam, (dance of the male), the soft Sahana was for Sakti’s lasyam, (the dance of the female) and the lively Sivasakti for their duet. Swaras poured out, seamlessly shifting from one raga to the other. His lighter session was good too. ‘Murugaa, Murugaa Ena Nee Sol’ in Hamsanandhi lingered for long.

Mysore Srikanth’s smoothness and speed added to the success of the concert. Neyveli Narayanan’s mridangam was pleasing to the ears and his experience led the two talented youngsters to a memorable performance.

Abhishek Raghuram retained his reputation as a powerhouse of talent. He made a brisk beginning with ‘Nannu Brova Raadhaa’ in Janaranjani by Syama Sastri. Surprisingly, he took Jayantasena for a detailed delineation and presented Tyagaraja’s ‘Vinataa Suta Vaahana.’ ‘Karpagaambike’ in Bilahari, a rarely heard kriti by Papanasam Sivan, was in Sanskritised Tamil, used by people many decades ago.

His RTP with the pallavi ‘Thaamadham Thagaadhaiyaa, Thanigai Valar Murugaiyaa’ brought out his prowess for raga delineation and manodharma. Violinist Mysore Srikanth met Abhishek’s challenges with admirable ease. Anantha R. Krishna on the mridangam showed great maturity and understanding. It was a concert that the audience will remember for long.