R. Surya Prakash's rendition was fluid and Madhuvanti is promising
A vocal concert by R. Surya Prakash, accompanied by Kalyani Shankar (violin), V. Krishna (mridanga) and A.V. Kashinath (khanjira), was hosted by the MES Kalavedi, Bangalore, recently.
Mysore Vasudevacharya's adi tala varna in Kathanakuthuhalam, rendered in a mellow tempo, set the concert on a course of unalloyed melody supplemented with a steadfast adherence to the principles of classicism. The pace picked up with “Thatwamariya Tharama”, the Papanasam Sivan composition set to Reethigoula raga and adi tala, adorned with a modicum of kalpana swaras at “Mathisekharan Magane”.
The Kalyani alapana that followed was notable for the easy fluidity of sancharas and the judicious and sparing use of brigas. GNB's “Kamalasani Sundari” in rupaka tala was enriched with a neraval, at “Somanana Sulochani” that stayed mainly within the confines of the tara sthayi, but the ensuing kalpana swaras were rather too brief. The gentle sway of sangathis in the Deekshithar krithi “Chethah Sri Balakrishnam” was highlighted through an ideal kalapramana, while the effervescence of Thyagaraja's “Manavyalakincharadate” in Nalinakanthi was reinforced with some sparkling kalpana swaras suffixed to the pallavi. The Purandaradasa devaranama “Prananatha Paliso” in Shuddhasaveri raga and khanda chapu tala led to the main raga of the evening, Kanada.
The alapana laid bare the sweet essence of the raga in a series of phrases that halted at each of the pivotal notes and ranged effortlessly from the mandra sthayi panchama to the tara panchama, while the sustained focus on the madhya sthayi panchama was particularly engaging. Thyagaraja's “Sukhi Evaro” in adi tala was a superb choice and rendered beautifully, though a slight reduction in speed would have illumined the exquisite charm of the composition more effectively. Kalpana swaras in two speeds included a spell of diminishing tala cycles ending at the gandhara, with expert responses from the violinist and exemplary support from the percussionists.
Kala Premi Foundation organised a lecture demonstration on Navavidha Bhakthi by young vocalist Madhuvanthi, ably supported by Nagaraj Mandya (violin) and Raghu Bhagavat (mridanga).
Commencing with Thyagaraja's “Sangeetha Jnanamu” in Dhanyasi, the artiste proceeded to explain the different connotations of the term bhakthi before taking up for detailed elucidation the nine ways, sravanam, keerthanam, smaranam, padasevanam, archanam, vandanam, dasyam, sakhyam and atmanivedanam. Examples from a wide spectrum of sources, including texts such as the Ramayana, Mahabharatha and Bhagavatha, and works of a multiplicity of composers ranging from Annamacharya and the Haridasas to Swathi Thirunal and the Trinity, attested to meticulous research and assimilation and internalisation of a wealth of information.
The second segment, in concert format, began with Swathi Tirunal's “Paramapurusham” in Lalithapanchamam, and Narayana Theertha's “Puraya Mama Kamam” in Bilahari, presented as illustrations of smaranam and vandanam respectively. The main focus of the recital was on Swathi Tirunal's krithi “Sarasasama Mridupada” in Gourimanohari raga and aditala, featuring an alapana, and neraval and kalpana swaras, and cited as an example of padasevanam. While the artiste is endowed with a sweet voice, more concert experience and practice will impart greater depth and maturity to the manodharma component of the renderings.