The music recitals at the ‘Andhri' festival featured big names like Hariprasad Chaurasia and T.N. Seshagopalan.
Flute maestro Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia was the star attraction of the ‘Andhri' festival organised by Raja and Radha Reddy at Ravindra Bharati last week. His was the final performance of the festival. He appeared to be a bit indisposed and pleaded in the beginning for little time to get set. The response he received from the Hyderabad audience, who sat through his programme like disciplined school children had to be seen to be believed. They were silent when he was playing the numbers and heartily greeted him with long applauses as he concluded the number. They also applauded talented young tabla player Yogesh Santi with the same vigour. As Chaurasia progressed he began playing long spells holding his breath. His disciple Sameer Rao was on second flute and proved an asset to the veteran in filling gaps with sounds almost similar to his master's notes. He chose the melody Maru Behag, a major effort of his concert. He began playing the vilambit khyal with fingers moving on the wind holes, but he could produce whisper like sounds and loud tones too when needed. He evolved the Maarua playing note by note and building phrases bit by bit. Before he broke into next ‘kaalam' he let the tabla player showcase his skills. Yogesh proved a match. The second raga he chose for the occasion was Jog, but restricted it for Bandish, avoiding the Alap part. And in the Ati Drut part, the climax was set for the raga. At times he played as if he was cajoling the raga, especially in the Mandra part. The last Raga he chose to play was Pahadi, he entertained the audience to their heart's content. It was indeed a great show.
Carnatic vocal recital by T.N. Seshagopalan held on an earlier day of the festival was notable for his repertoire with contrasting but interesting numbers. He was conscious of the time limit for his show – an hour – and made it very absorbing. He was at his best. Accompanied by K.V. Krishna on violin, S. Aravind on mridangam and Nemani Somayajulu on ghatam; Seshagopalan opened his show with a varnam in Sriragam and rendered in not two but in three speeds — all with perfection. He then rendered a rare number of Neela Kanta Sivan in Poorvi Kalyani. This was a devotional number in praise of Nataraja in Chidambaram. The raga essay was quite elaborate. long spells of holding the breath tight. The effort in Anumandra Sthayi was astoundingly sweet. He rendered this in a Tamil composition. He set his swara syllables mostly in rhythmic structures matching Siva's cosmic dance. He rendered a Ramadas kirtana in Ananda Bhairavi and went for the show piece of his concert, Ragam-Tanam- Pallavi in Shanmukhapriya. The Ragam and Tanam parts were neat and the Pallavi line Ganalola Karunalavala was rendered well. Swaraprasthara was packed with rhythmic syllables calling for exchanges from the mridangist. The tani aavartanam was a formality, due to lack of time. He ended with a tillana in Hindustani raga Chandrakauns, which he composed.
Hindustani vocalist Ashwini Bhide Deshpande belongs to Jaipur- Atrauli Khayal Gayaki tradition. Narayana Rao Datar and also her mother Manik Bhede shaped her to be what she is today. Her concert on the first day was a blend of tonal sweetness and vocal vitality. Her voice is very soothing and her presentation of any khyal was built from rudiments. Her recital was marked by her delineation of raga Jhenjhuti, which she leisurely essayed. Even in fast speeds there was clarity in her melodic line.