One event, different artists and composers, and varied styles….
A series of music concerts by eminent musicians was organised on the occasion of the Sri Rama Navami celebrations that took place at Lalitha Nivas in R.S. Puram, Coimbatore.
Ramakrishnan Murthy’s exceptional presentation skills to the accompaniment of Sunderrajan on the violin, Arun Prakash on the mridangam and Krishnakumar on the ghatam were evident from the beginning of the concert. He rendered the Thodi varnam ‘Eranaapai’ in two kalams. His measured approach to ragas in the sthayis, sans gimmicks and speed, drew the rasikas to the essence of music. After a vibrant presentation of Tyagaraja’s ‘Bhuvinidasudani’ (Sriranjani) with lively chittaswaras, his raga vinyasams of Nattai for ‘Jagadanandakaraka,’ Kalyani for ‘Nidhi Chala Sukhama’ and Bilahari for ‘Intakaanandame’ whetted the aural appetite of the listeners. His Kalyani traversed the octaves smoothly and the kriti was delectably rendered. The violinist’s replies were by and large pleasing. Arun Prakash (mridangam) and Krishnakumar (ghatam) were the personifications of enthusiasm and their thani was hyperactive.
A harmonious blend of vidwat and vibrancy characterised the inspirational delivery of the compositions on the next day by Vijay Siva. His eloquence of spontaneity sans flamboyance regaled the audience. A refined version of the varnam in Sowrashtram ‘Ninnujuchi’ followed by ‘Kadaikkakann Vaithennai’ was full of depth and appeal. His sophisticated technique in unfolding the beauty of Saranga for the kriti, ‘Arunachalanatham’ and Abheri for ‘Ninnuvina Madhi Galada’ exuding the raga bhava in definitive style, made his singing graphic. His Thodi was infused with exotic shades in Tyagaraja’s ‘MunnuRavana.’ ‘Sivakamasundari’ (Mukhari) and ‘Kanthamam Kathirkamamam’ in Sindhubhairavi left a lingering effect. Chandramouli was the violin accompanist. Well-embellished sollus of the mridangam player, Mali, and Anirudh Athreya (ganjira) provided wholesome support.
The violin duet of Nagaraj and Manjunath bore the stamp of rigorous discipline in handling the instrument with their nimble fingers. With perfect coordination and sruti alignment they set the right mood and created melodious music. ‘Vathapi Ganapatim’ with several strings of swaras and ‘Evarani’ (Devamruthavarshini) breathed eternal fragrance. Their combined alapanas of Subhapantuvarali for the kriti, ‘Aparamabhakti’ and Khambodi for ‘O, Rangasayee’ with strands of sancharas were marked by smooth glides from nishadam. Their adeptness in the exchange of swaras had all the qualities of a well-composed symphony. Their penchant for bhava enhanced the aural aesthetics. However, an overdose of their acrobatics in swara sallies and build-up of the ragas were jarring. Arjun Kumar (mridangam) and Guruprasanna (ganjira) played with equal melodic intensity and exuberance.
Malladi Brothers, Sreeram Kumar and Ravi Prasad, stuck to the customary usages in their kutcheri on the penultimate day of the festival. They commenced with a bright delineation of ‘Jaya Jaya Swamin’ in Nattai. This was followed by their soulful Kalyani delineation for the kriti, ‘Nannubrovamani’ that kept the raga lakshana intact in the swara karvais. Dikshitar’s ‘Ramachandrena Samrakshithoham’ in Manji was a neat version. The expansion of the main raga, Kharaharapriya for the composition, ‘Nadachinadachi’ was a linear development interspersed with swift flashes of vidwat through the octaves effortlessly. The colourful mosaic of the raga was pieced together with razor-sharp embellishments. M.A.Sundareswaran (violin) imparted deft touches to the ragas and swaras in the Parur style. K.V. Prasad (mridangam) and Udupi Sridhar (ghatam) enhanced the dignity of the recital.
Tonal eloquence and good patanthara of V. Sankaranarayanan was a fitting finale to the Rama navami utsavam. ‘Mathe Malayadwaja Daru’ varnam followed by ‘Adugaradani’ in Manoranjani revealed his creativity. The raga vinyasam of Sahana for the kriti, ‘Rama Ikanannu’ brought out its different colours and the swaras saw the scintillating exchanges with the violinist. Sankarabharanam was explored with extended karvais and the lilting akaras formed the prelude to the kriti, ‘Enthuku Peddala.’
Clear diction and laya accuracy were predominant in the renditions of ‘Ada Modi Galade’ and ‘Ramanai Bhajithal.’ M.R. Gopinath ‘s (violin) well-crafted bowing replied suitably to the alapanas and swara exchanges. K.V. Prasad (mridangam) kept the cadence of the cutcheri on an enjoyable track.