Maruti Prasad’s rendition blended harmoniously with Pawan Singh’s violin.

If ever there was a rendition in the most emotive of tones, whatever be the tenor, which straight aimed at the heart, it was Bangalore-based Maruti Prasad’s vocal concert held at Kalasagaram recently. Not that he sacrificed classicality at the altar of ‘feeling’ but struck an ideal balance of both. The choice of kritis was also something to write home about. But for the pathetic acoustics of Keyes High School indoor auditorium, which marred the clarity of the ‘sahitya’ at times, the visually-challenged artist excelled in more than one aspect.

Unveiling the concert with the ‘ata’ tala varnam ‘viriboni’ in Bhairavi, he extolled Siddhi Vinayakam in Mohana Kalyani. That was just the beginning of what proved to be a soul-stirring musical tribute to the divine.

Ma yamma yani ne pilachithe, a Shyama Sastri creation in ragam Ahiri, was a fervent plea to the goddess for grace. Right from the yearning alapana, it went on with the sangathis that spelt out the import of the lines to the neraval with Pawan Singh lending the equally ardent notes through his deft bowing on the violin. He was a real match to the musician. Together they made for a harmonious blend in the recital.

So too with Ranjani, where the gamaka-oriented (tremulous) alapana caught on to the lovely ‘negation’ kriti of Thyagaraja Durmarga chara… Every line was suffused with feeling even as he gave an in-depth rendition. The neraval at dharmatmaka dhana dhyaanya.. and the swarakalpana with the emphasis changing places so as to drive home the point intended by the composer and the improvisation was a seamless shift from the neraval in a similar manner.

Since the musician seemed to lay greater stress on ‘bhava’ and ‘tala’ the third cycle of speed was a calculated one rather than a racy impressive array of swara patterns.

A very tuneful and melodic Anandabhairavi followed with Purandhara Dasa’s Vodi nagaavi melekayya... which looked close to Vishamakara kannan, the vocalist brought a tilt to every concluding word and that gave a stylistic touch to the keertana. Annamacharya’s Teppa maaraku meeda in Lalitha was another lovely rendition where the raga was melodiously explored prior to the song so that the listeners got into the mood to experience its sweetness in full.

A discerning alapana with a close follow on the violin which replicated the beauty of every line of the ragam Begada that revealed itself through the vocalist’s excellent handling emerged into the kriti (a Mysore Vasudevachar’s composition), Manasa, vachasa, shirasa anisham bhajatha deva… with the frill of a chittaswaram that brought out the speciality of this tuneful raga.

The raga chyaya (shades) was visible all through the swarakalpana and the lyric proper.

The neraval at karuna deenam delineated the import of the line in myriad ways. The percussionists Burra Srinivas (mridangam) and Janardhan (ghatam) went for a tani each and later entered into a dialogue that was as good as it gets.