Veteran R.K. Srikantan’s concert in Thrissur stood out for traditional fervour and virtuosity.

Belying his age, with total control of sruthi and laya, veteran musician R.K. Srikantan gave a concert in Thrissur that was rich and evocative. He opened the recital with ‘Mahaganapathim’ in Natta, with crisp swaras appended to it. For ‘Nadhasudharasam’ – Arabhi and Roopakam, Kovai Prakash on the mridangam lent vibrant support. In this composition, Tyagaraja says that the nectarine juice called ‘naada’, worshipped by him, which is the prop of the Vedas and the epics, has assumed a human form here as Lord Sri Rama.

The reach of the musician’s involvement in measuring the length and breadth of the raga Abhogi phrase-by-phrase was evident in the way he outlined it with wide spectacular interpretations. The composition he took up was ‘Nannu brova neekinta’, of Tygaraja in Adi.

In the delineation of Shanmukhapriya for Swati’s ‘Mamava karunaya’, he dotted his alapanas with a clever mix of phrases in the lower, middle and upper octaves in various stages of raga development.

Spontaneity of improvisations at ‘Ariganavidhalana paramapaducharitha’, the charanam, ruled the roost. It was rich with neatly embroidered casements of niraval and swaraprastaras in two degrees of speed. The elongated prastaras of swaras at the end were handled by Rudrapatnam S. Ramakanth (R.K. Srikantan’s son who provided him vocal support). Indeed, there were contrasting styles between father and son in the alapana patterns and swaraprasthara techniques.

Accomplishment of a fine blend of technique and dexterity with soulful involvement marked the solo versions of Kovai Balasubrahmanyam on the violin. The tani presented by Prakash and Kovai Suresh (ghatam) was soft and precise, and rounded off with a touch of class.

R.K. Srikantan wound up his recital with a tillana in Mohanakalyani. The overall repose of the concert conferred incredible control over the behaviour of the voice, violin and percussion.

The concert was held under the auspices of Rasikapriya in Kerala Sahitya Akademi Hall to celebrate the Sabha’s 50th anniversary.