It was the meeting of North and South in terms of the music and, that of East and West as regards the instruments. Curiosity was writ large on the faces of the rasikas as Kadri Gopalnath shared the dais with Pravin Godkhindi. The saxophone and the flute or bansuri together created mesmerising effects as was evident from the rounds of spontaneous applause from the audience.
Both instruments demand total dedication and rigorous practice to achieve mastery. For Kadri, son of a nagaswaram vidwan, it was a chance presence at a band performance that drew him to the vibrant tone of the brass instrument. As for Pravin, his father Pandit Venkatesh Godkhindi, is one of the senior most flautists of Karnataka, and has been performing for over 40 years.
The musicians commenced their jugalbandi with Hamsadhwani. Kadri’s alapana was majestic, while Pravin’s was mellifluous. In ‘Vatapi Ganapathim,’ they merged wonderfully well, creating a hypnotising impact. The kalpanaswaras, especially the concluding kuraippu and korvai were musically rich.
B Harikumar (mridangam), Kiran Godkhandi (Pravin’s brother) on the tabla and B. Rajasekar (morsing) made significant contribution.
To the credit of Pravin, it should be mentioned that he deliberately chose a submissive role in the interest of overall harmony.
The Kapi by Kadri and ‘Enna Thavam Seythanai’ of Papanasam Sivan, showed the extent to which he has tamed his instrument. Similarly, after alap in Pilu, Pravin offered two short pieces, one in khemta taal and other in teen taal, both of which were soothing all the way.
Then Kadri took up RTP in Surya and Pravin rendered it in Suryakauns. The pallavi was ‘Parthsarathy Paripahimam, Sridhara Kesava Madhava.’ While Kadri added Bhupal Todi, Vasanthi and Brindavana Saranga, Pravin rendered Marwa and Amrithavarshini in the ragamalika swaras.
The thani by the trio was awe-inspiring. If Harikumar was majestic, Kiran was melodious while Rajasekar was sugary. The concluding korvai and the way Kadri joined it in the third avarthanam showcased the skill of the artists.
A Meera bhajan (‘Payo Re Mein Ne’) and ‘Krishna Nee Begane Baro’ created an ambience that was charged with devotion. Bharatiyar’s ‘Chinnanjiru Kiliye’ was lilting. The other pieces in the repertoire included a Marathi abhang, ‘Theertha Vittala Kshetra Vittala,’ Purandara devarnama ‘Tamboori Meetidava’; Tiruppugazh ‘Muththaiththaru’ and ‘Bhagyada Lakshmi.’
Perhaps ‘Chinnanjiru Kiliye’ and Tiruppugazh could have been avoided as Pravin could not join Kadri on these two numbers.
Overall, the audience had a rich and varied fare.