Sriram Gangadharan’s maiden concert in Thrissur showcased his virtuosity.
Chennai-based Sriram Gangadharan’s maiden concert in Thrissur was full of verve. Even after three hours of full-throated rendition in quick succession, the flautist-turned-musician appeared indefatigable. Further, his positive attitude throughout the concert endeared him to rasikas.
The opening number was indicative enough of the vocalist’s musical prowess. ‘Eranapai’, Kothavasal Venkitarama Iyer’s Thodi Adi tala varnam, received a vigorous treatment by him. A penchant for speed was evident as Sriram entered straight away into ‘Eka Dantham Bhajeham’, the famous composition of Dikshitar in Bilahari and Tripuda. The number was spiced up by alluring swaraprasthara that seemed to be his forte while rendering the ensuing kritis.
Elaboration of Panthuvarali was in the right proportion and the composition was ‘Nanda Gopalakrishnam’, in Roopakam, of Narayana Theerthar. The number brought to the limelight the musician’s commendable clarity of diction. Niraval at ‘Sivanarayana’ was impressive. Interestingly, Sriram provided enough opportunities for the percussionists to improvise as he progressed through the niravals. And they utilised the opportunity to the maximum. These were well received by the audience. Further, his quest for staying most of the time in the tara sthayi was evident in this number. The fast-running swaras had many highlights.
Beauty of contrast
The ingenuity of selecting ‘Mayammayani Ne Pilachite’ of Syama Sastri, a Chouka kala composition, as the next number was laudable. For, the extremely slow tempo highlighted the beauty of contrast. ‘Vasudevayani Vedalina’ in Kalyani and Adi also had captivating swaras.
Why Sriram chose not to elaborate a raga like Kalyani was clear when he switched to the next number – RTP in Thodi. Even as the RTP covered almost half of the concert, the essaying of the raga itself was pretty long enough. He seemed determined to essay Thodi in its all colours. It was clear that the musician had an affinity towards this raga, as he was doing it for the second time that evening.
Tanam was delectable, but one felt it could have been a little shorter. Vivacious was the pallavi part done with ‘Madanakodi Sundara Krishna’ that had ragas Kanada, Kathanakuthoohalam and Hamsanandi dovetailed in an amazing manner. The transitions were smooth. The finale was marked by fireworks by the percussionists.
The creativity of the accompanists was discernible right from the very first number. Their support and intervention at the right junctures embellished the renditions. The team comprised included Trivandrum G. Sampath (violin), Nanjil Arul (mridangam), Manjoor Unnikrishnan (ghatam) and Kalamandalam Shyju (morsing).
Sriram wound up with a couple of Krishna bhajans.
The concert was staged as part of the fourth anniversary celebrations of Rasikapriya.