The Sica monthly concerts bring in rare instrumental talent.

Carnatic music lovers are being treated to rare instrumental music, thanks to the South Indian Cultural Association's (Sica) rather bold move to pioneer such concerts. Its recent announcement to provide a platform to showcase up and coming artists in the first hour of its monthly recitals, also comes as a blessing.

So we had clarinet vidwan Kota Atchi Babu recreating a temple culture on stage with elevating kritis. Prior to that Mangalampalli Suvarna lent her robust voice with full command over her medium. She explored in full the ragam Panthuvarali as she rendered Sarasaksha Paripalayamaam…a Swati Tirunal composition. Her improvisations (neraval, manodharma) were erudite and handled with confidence. Of significance was her neraval in the mohana padmanabhakamala… lines and consequent kalpanaswara.

Suvarana's tonal quality had a dignified consistency which drew applause. In the brief one-hour recital, the curt alapana could have been avoided. A little tapering off towards the end of a kriti was needed. The Tamil piece in Sindhu Bhairavi Karunai deivame karpagame… showed the artist's sensitivity to go by the pulse of the audience which is one of the keys to make a concert successful. OmPrakash on the percussion was specially good. Violonist Anil Kumar was up to the mark.

The clarinet burst into vibrant melody in the hands of Atchi Babu whose dexterity was amazing. The instrument was pulsating with life as he moved on from Sama ragam to Simhendra Madhyamam to Kapi Narayani and to Kalyani and so on. If Annapurne Visalakshi… floated along in Sama, Needu charanamule… (Thyagaraja) and Sarasasamadana… brought forth old melodies to the fore. Yetanunna… in Kalyani was the centerpiece in full splendour with muktai and excellent improvisation. In total contrast to the voluble clarinet was B.S. Narayanan's excellent response with his violin that emanated the smoothest of notes with his agile bowing. Ghatam vidwan Nemani Somayajulu's lightning repartee to P. Jayabhaskar's mridangam ignited fireworks of sort in the listeners who were agog with fervour waiting for one of them to emerge winner. It was not until the rendition reached a natural conclusion did the gusto subside and the audience settled for the next one.

The concert was co-hosted by Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan at its premises.