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Updated: September 3, 2009 18:19 IST

Falling short of standards

SRIKANTH VENKATESAN
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Impressive: G. Sowmya
Impressive: G. Sowmya

It was a botched effort by Delhi Tamil Sangam to promote home grown talent as it forgets to do its homework properly.

In order to promote home grown talents, meaning youngsters trained in Delhi, in the field of Carnatic music, Delhi Tamil Sangam organised two concerts recently. G. Sowmya, disciple of Guru Viswanathan, presented an impressive vocal concert. In her one-hour recital, she exhibited total confidence in presenting various compositions in Tamil. Sowmya’s diction of lyrics too was quite impressive, considering the fact that she has been brought up in Delhi.

In the opening piece “Tatvamariya tarama”, a composition of Papanasam Sivan, Sowmya brought out the emotive aspects of the lyrics. Her performance was impressive in yet another composition of Sivan, “Maramanan umaramanan” in raga Hindolam. This was preceded by a good sketch of this raga. The subsequent swaraprastaras were also creative.

After presenting a few more Tamil compositions of Oothukadu Venkata Subbayyar, Gopalakrishna Bharati and others, Sowmya moved to the central item of her recital, which was again a Sivan composition, “Paraatpara Parameswara” in raga Vachaspati. Though she presented the composition well, the delineation of the raga was not a smooth affair. So was the case with swaraprastaras. One felt that Sowmya was too ambitious in trying to make her concert a Tamil-centric one at this stage of her career. Selecting the central piece in the raga Vachaspati too turned out to be a little misadventure. Instead, a composition in ragas like Kalyani, Pantuvarali or even Todi would have been smooth. Ideally, for delineation of a raga, it would be better to learn at least two or three main compositions, including a varnam in that raga to get to know the raga’s complete features.

Youngsters Chembai Srinivasan on the violin, S. Vigneswaran on the mridangam and J. Sairam on the ghatam supported Sowmya. While Srinivasan’s delineation of raga Hindolam was pleasant, the percussionists should have done a little more hard work. They failed to understand that each one had a defined percussion space. Both were entering each other’s space unnecessarily, even before the finale in the tani avartanam where they come together. No basic standard

For another concert in the same series, Delhi Tamil Sangam did not do their homework properly. A performer has to present both the segments of concert presentation — kalpita (music as learnt) and manodharma (creative music where improvisations are made in the form of alapana, neraval and swaraprastaras). In this concert the manodharma music was conspicuous by its absence. It was mere rendering of compositions one after another to the accompaniment of violin, mridangam and ghatam. Though these youngsters did a good job in presenting these kritis, it was an unreasonable affair to make rasikas sit through this session. The Sangam in its eagerness to provide a platform to young talents seemed to have ignored the fact that in a public platform there should be a certain minimum bar. Here, the role of the guru (teacher) too is important. If teachers feel that their students are not ready to present a full-fledged concert, they should discourage them. Maybe the enthusiastic parents/gurus wanting to see their children/disciples on stage quickly and an organisation not diligent enough have resulted in falling standards in concert performance.


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