Various artists showcased their musical prowess at Saradhi's 10th anniversary celebrations
Saradhi, a cultural organisation led by Kala Sasikumar, has been promoting the arts for the past decade. Its ten-day tenth anniversary celebration was conducted at the Museum Theatre, Egmore, under the title ‘Prerana,' which was a series on the guru-sishya combination.
The seventh day saw a veena recital by Malathi Thotadri who was supported by B. Ganapathyraman on the mridangam. The popular kritis of Tyagaraja, Dikshitar and Swati Tirunal featured in Malathi's recital. She essayed Hindolam at the outset with a good grasp and later chose Kalyani for the main slot.
The raga treatises covered the basic and lively phrases of these ragas to a great extent. Following the Sahana varnam ‘Karunimpa,' the Hindolam composition of Dikshitar, ‘Govardhana Gireesam', was essayed with a few rounds of swaras. The Kalyani raga and a full fledged thanam integrating gana ragamalika provided a solid prelude to ‘Kamalambam' of Dikshitar. Here the swara part turned out to be a bit trite and ended abruptly, with a single avarthanam of second kala swaras.
Malathi's meettu and pulls are good but many a time, the presentation sounded more like commonplace exercises rather than a spontaneous item.
The tala strings accompaniment was a tad strident and diverting. Swara sections could have been better designed. Ganapathyraman maintained a consistent tempo throughout.
Neyveli Santhanagopalan's greatest strength is his deep knowledge of Carnatic music, insights into raga frames with his shrewd eye on their speciality and how he ushers them in either as an enticing phrase, sangati or swara.
In this concert, he infused unusual raga shades and expert swara trails to the Sriraga varnam.
There was a charming melange of swaras in ‘Vathapi Ganapathim' (Hamsadhwani) and significantly soothing passages for the Poorvikalyani raga alapana (‘Deva Deva Jagadeeswara') with a build-up of swarakalpana on ‘Varananaparivruda' to an intense climax.
Well, the incessant indulgence in swarakalpana did lead to a sort of ennui. But it was sad that the slow and steady development finally ended in a noisy finale with the mridangam and the ghatam drowning Santhanagopalan's voice.
Santhanagopalan was vocally supported by his two young sishyas Cochin Jayakrishna and Srikanth Kaundinya, Vittal Ramamurthy on the violin, K.V. Prasad on the mridangam and Vaikkom Gopalakrishnan on the ghatam.
What was special about Unnikrishnan's concert? The selections have been heard before.
Nevertheless, the glow of Shanmukhapriya and Kalyanavasantham were markers of his musical wisdom and vocal command. The raga essay with focus on the vivacity of Shanmukhapriya lent richness before Patnam Subramaniya Iyer's kriti ‘Marivere Dikkevarayya' with swara spins on ‘Sannuthanga Sri Venkatesa.' Kalyanavasantham with its myriad shades created a poignant prelude to the tanam and pallavi. The pallavi on simple but soulful lines led to a dynamic swara section with a ragamalika track of Hamsanandhi, Nalinakanti and Madhukauns. Unnikrishnan's favourites such as the Thodi varnam, ‘Varalandu Kommani' in Gurjari of Tyagaraja, ‘Parama Purusha' in Vasantha by Swati Tirunal and ‘Kumaran Thaal' in Yadukulakambodi by Papanasam Sivan found place in this recital.
S. Varadarajan on the violin added lustre in the raga expositions and swara sallies with grace.
Arun Prakash (mridangam) and Gopalakrishnan (ganjira) were competent supporters.