The seven day gala of music and dance got off to an impressive start.
The 40th annual festival of music and dance for seven days organised by the Visakha Music Academy that is being held at Kalabharathi was inaugurated by Sadguru K. Sivananda Murty last Friday. The Academy's title ‘Sangeetha Kala Saagara' was conferred on renowned vocalist Sudha Raghunathan of Chennai by the Academy's president, former A.U. professor, A. Prasanna Kumar.
Later in the company of M.R. Gopinath on violin, Neyveli Skhanda Sunbramaniam on mridangam and R. Raman on kanjira (all from Chennai), she eruditely rendered the inaugural concert. Rendering of the first four items, Vasanthavarnam, Virutham followed by Jaya Jaya Jaya Janaki Kantha in Nata concluded with technically well structured swaram, Maathangi of Dikshitar in Ramamanohari with alapana, neravu and swaram, Marugelara of Tyagaraja (Jayanthasree), sounded like a long warming up session.
Then came the most evocatively rendered Janani ninuvina adorned with mellifluent alapana (Reethigowla) and exhilarating swaram. After similarly rendering Neepaadame gathi of GNB (Nalinikanthi), she exquisitely came out with an expansive expatiation of Rara Rajeevalochana (Mohana). The thani led on mridangam by Subramaniam who seemed to be the best among all the artistes was delectable.
A devotional song Govinda in ragamalika comprised of Sivaranjani, Kapi and Sindhubhairavi left an elated impression. The Jugalbandi rendered on veena by Bonala Sankara Prakash with Tiruvarur Bhakthavatsalam on mridangam from Chennai and Purbayan Chatterjee on sitar with Satyajit Thalwalkar on tabla (Delhi) on the next evening, was scintillating in patches, while the sitar was played in turns and especially when a composition in puriyadhanasree in (roopakatal – seven beats) was elaborately rendered with aalap, jhore and sargam exclusively on sitar. They could do better with proper understanding of the connotation of the term jugalbandi. Bhaktavatsalam playing aesthetically and eruditely on mridangam during the very limited time he got and execution of the thani was most impressive. Besides the solo on sitar, they played Vathapi (Hamsadhvani) to start with and ragam thanam pallavi in Keeravani towards the end.