Despite many distractions, the music of Sajeev touched a chord.
It was a different atmosphere at the concert of C. S. Sajeev at Sri Kanchi Mahaswamy Ananda Mantapam, Adyar. There were nine people on stage -- two mridangam artists, two disciples (?) sitting behind the vocalist, two others behind the violinist, and another person behind the mridangam artists.
The audience just walked in casually, greeted each other, exchanged pleasantries, and gesticulated to friends across the hall and also to those on the dais. The sound of the generator could be heard in the background. The mridangam volume was too high, so much so, the sahitya was undecipherable most of the time unless you knew the kriti, and the violin notes were completed drowned.
Notwithstanding all this, Sajeev began earnestly with ‘Chalamela,’ the padavarnam in Nattakurinji, sans the sahitya for charana swaras. This was followed by ‘Maha Ganapathim’ in Nattai with a several rounds of brisk kalpanaswaras and Swati Tirunal’s ‘Jaya Jaya Padmanabhanujesa’ in Manirangu.
The alapana of Anandabhairavi was presented in the tempo that’s suited for that raga. The hitherto inaudible violin of M. Chandrasekharan, the senior artist, could be heard only during his versions of the raga alapana, which were pure.
Dikshitar’s ‘Tyagaraja Yoga Vaibhavam’ was presented well. A fast paced ‘Bantu Riti Kolu’ in Hamsanadam, and ‘Rama Bhakti’ in Suddha Bangala with a short essay of the raga and kalpanaswaras, came in quick succession. A well structured Pantuvarali alapana was followed by ‘Sarame Gani’ with a few avartanams of kalpanaswara.
The main raga Khambodi was elaborate, presented in an unhurried fashion without any gimmick. ‘O Rangasayee’ was rendered flawlessly, with the only niraval of the whole concert at ‘Bhuloka Vaikuntam’; the kalpanaswaras were devoid of the much rehearsed theermanam.
Guruvayoor Dorai (mridangam) tried to give different arudis every time. The thani was a noisy affair, with both the mridangam artists, Dorai and Uzhavur K. Babu, playing with matching vigour. The tail-end pieces included ‘Alarsara Paritapam’ in Suratti and ‘Om Namo Narayana’ in Karnaranjani.