Performances by noted musicians enthralled at the recent annual festival of music and dance in Visakhapatnam.Velcheti Subrahmanyam

Visakha Music Academy’s 44th annual seven-day festival of music and dance at Kalabharati Visakhapatnam was a connoisseurs’ delight. With both seasoned and young artistes coming alive displaying their artistic ingenuity in abundance, it unveiled a spectrum of aesthetic splendour in classical music and dance. Presentation of awards and a philatelic exhibition exclusively devoted to music collected by Gandikota Sriramarao added sheen to the fest.

The fest opened with the presentation of an award instituted in memory of noted dancer Saraswathi which maestro Mangalampalli Balamurali Krishna presented to whistle wizard K Siva Prasad. A whistle concert of Siva Prasad that followed. . Living up to his sobriquet Gala Murali or human flute, he whistled his way to the hearts of audience through a string of compositions. Ably accompanied by M Satyanarayana Sarma on violin, K Srinivas on mridangam, TP Bala Subrahmanyam on ghatam and Mohd Khadri Javed, he spiced the session with a sprinkle of Rabindra Sangeet.

On the second day, the hypnotic spell of Ranjani and Gayatri was in full play. With an ingenious, eloquent and engaging approach, the duo explored the myriad nuances of the classical idiom. The duo took off with Darbar varnam and what followed was truly an aural treat. The star piece of the session RTP in Ranjani was connoisseur’s delight. With pallavi ‘Ranjani kanjadalalochani niranjani’ and swaram in ragamalika comprising Sivaranjani, Janaranjani, Megharanjani, Manoranjani and Sumanesaranjani, it was reflective of their cascading manodharam in all its richness. The exposition of Todi for Kadanuvaariki of Thyagaraja brought out their effervescent style into play in every turn, the concert was an exhilarating experience for rasikas. M.S.N Murthy on violin, V.V Ramanamurthy on mridangam and B.S Purushotham were at their best.

On the third day, the academy conferred its prestigious title ‘Sangeetha Kala Sagara’ on violin maestro Komanduri Sehadri. The concert that followed was a session of pure classicism that exuded its distinct aura as the maestro’s gentle bow wafted the fragrance of soft melodies. His cadenced and structured expansion of chosen ragas was sparkling accounts of his brilliant artistry. In tandem with violinists K.A.S. Rajan and K.V Krishna on the stage, he looked virtuosity personified. His RTP in Shanmukhapriya with pallavi ‘Hare raama govinda murahara muraari mukunda soure subhakara hare raama’ in ragamaalika comprising Atana, Vasantha and Anandabhairavi has given multi-hued picture of chosen ragas. Neevalla gunadoshamemi of Thyagaraj unfolded the pleasing profile of the raga in its soft shades of melody. Kotipalli Ramesh on mridangam and BS Purushottam on Kanjira lent adroit support.

On the fourth day, enchanting swara suites and raga essays marked the vocal concert of Manda Sudharani. It was, in a way, reflective of her erudition and grip over the matrix of classical notes. That she is conscious of the classicality of every phrase is evident all through and her classy RTP in raga Hindolam bore an eloquent testimony to it. M Satyanarayana Sarma on violin, M Sridhar on mridangam and S Hanumantharao on ghatam lent good support.

On the fifth day, energetic Abhishek Raghuram enthralled the audience. His vibrant tone and tenor that traversed the chosen octave with fluid ease and surgical precision plumbed the depths of ragas. Decorated with alluring swara casements, his delineation of raga natakuranji for ‘Mamavasada bhajare’ and raga Saramati for Mokshamuklada were simply captivating. Peri Srirama Murthy on violin, Patri Satish on mridangam and P Haribabu on ghatam lent dexterous support.

On the sixth day renowned flautist Sikkle Mala Chandrasekhar impressed the audience. Gliding with ease in chosen octave, her treatment of ragas was classy and raga Mohana for Rajagopalam of Deekshitar and Abheri for Nagumomu stood out for remarkable presentation. Ranjani Ramakrishnan on violin, Kallidaikurchi S Sivakumar on mridangam and Trichy Krishna Swamy on ghatam lent vibrant support.