Flautist V.K. Raman chose Brindavana Saranga for RTP. There was clarity in Vasuda Kesav's performance. S. Sivakumar

V.K. Raman's flute concert was full of freshness. While rendering his alapanas for Poorvikalyani (‘Padmavathi Ramanam', Oothukkadu Venkata Kavi) and Kharaharapriya (‘Chakkaniraja margamu',Tyagaraja), there were often stages where he waited on a single swara and traversed back and forth with élan. Scores of melodic zarus were placed and played in a haunting and effective manner for both these ragas. The swaras coursed through different combinations at ‘Kantiki Sundara'.

The Ragam Tanam Pallavi was in Brindavana Saranga - a bold choice considering the scope it offers and the difficulty involved in ‘raga-maintenance.' Raman's playing was melody personified and the pallavi with the sahitya ‘Brindavana Sarangan Padhame Thunai Neela Mega Shyama Krishna' set in Khanda Jathi Triputa Talam went through all its marked rounds. The wide spectrum of flutes, ranging from the bansuri to the folk with its various rays and glints that were (re)presented by Raman, call for mastery of a high order with well-cultivated blowing and finger techniques. Still, tanam on one of these flutes never was tanam per se… at least to the discerning rasika. The deployment of flutes of many diameters has become a fashionable necessity in flute concerts these days. Does it have a role in giving new dimensions to a concert?

Avaneeswaram Vinu on the violin played pleasantly and displayed considerable merit while accompanying for the pallavi and its swaras. Madurai Sundar on the mridangam is gifted with a good song-sense. He was at home playing the sangatis for ‘Chakkaniraja' that synchronised at all places with that of the flutist. One could visualise the sangatis even when they were played alone on the mridangam. His thani had well developed korvais and his style served to preserve the melody factor in this concert. It was learnt that this flutist is a disciple of A.V.Suresh and N. Ramani.

A. Vasuda Kesav's rendering of ‘Nee Dhasula' in Malayamarutham (Annmayya), majestic elements in the alapana for Saveri and the flowing array of swaras that ran to many avartanams for the song ‘Velayya' by Koteeswara Iyer, showed that this singer has a voice that is well-accustomed and trained for serious music. Koteeswara Iyer uses Tamil words ending with the syllable ‘ya' at many points and puts them in the right context with a poetic flair in this particular song. Vasuda's rendering highlighted this aspect.

The next song that came up was ‘Hecharikagarara' (Yadukula Khambodhi -Tyagaraja). Vasuda had to encounter reality now - harsh reality. The mridangist Ammangudi Ramanarayanan could never come to terms either with himself or his vadhyam. If it was sruthi mismatch in the beginning, it was also the crowding of irksome routine nadais for niraval (or sahitya), later. Little did he realise that he was applying his own gears which were in total contrast to those that were critically needed for the songs.

Vasuda tread carefully into Subapanthuvarali and gave an alapana that by its sheer span and range of prayogas spelt the core values of the raga with clarity and conviction. The song ‘Sri Sathyanarayanam Upasmahe,' again was “driven” by the whims and fancies of the mridangist - or was it sheer inexperience? Vasuda should have assumed charge at least at some point. Her round of swaras had multiple combinations and a special kuraippu which confirmed her immense rhythmic abilities in this sub-domain.

Kaushik Sivaramakrishnan on the violin had the Izhaippu prayogas in plenty during his alapanas and followed and answered the swaraprastaras with a youngster's confidence without in any way being impetuous.

sivakumar2004@gmail.com

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