Many vaggeyakaras have endowed Carnatic classical music with substance and style down the centuries. Their abiding works and inspiring lives have enriched classical music. Listening to their works in a series would undeniably be a fabulous event for music aficionados. Such an occasion unfolded in the five-day Sravani Vaggeyakara Utsavam of Andhra Music Academy at Kalabharati Visakhapatnam. With a welcome mix of veterans and young talents, the fest also stood out for both its substance and style. maasam Perala Bala Murali Krishna’s succinct introduction of each of the Vaggeyakaaras provided nuggets of information about them.
That experience counts came to the fore in the redoubtable T. V. Sankaranarayanan’s concert. Each phrase of the chosen raga softly unfolded and blossomed beautifully in his vibrant rendition. His structured building up of raga, exploring its layers in varied dimensions, mesmerized the audience. It was truly a treat to listen to the maestro ladling out the compositions of Thyagaraja, Muthuswamy Dikshitar and Papanasam Sivan he had been slotted to perform in. Right from the opening, it was a cascade with raga Kambhoji for Marakatavallin of Deekshitar, Meevalla Gunadosham of Thyagaraj in Kapi, Venkateswara of Papanasan Sivan in Lathangi carried the audience through. HN Bhaskar on violin, NC Bharadwaj on mridangam and S Venkateswaran on kanjeera lent vibrant support.
Prince Rama Varma’s first ever concert in the city was a class apart. With a splendid touch of aesthetics , he presented the compositions of Maharaja Swathi Tirunal and Mangalampalli Bala Murali Krishna. He prefaced almost each piece with a brief elucidation of the subtle lyrical and musical nuances involved. His meditative aalapana and rendition of cadenced grace at leisurely pace with an accent on Sahitya bhava enhanced its emotive appeal. Amma of Bala Murali Krishna in Gambhiranata, Saadhu of Swathi Tirunal in Vakulabharanam, raga Lavangi of Bala Murali Krishna for Omkaara and others found abiding expression in his lilting voice.
S. R. Venu on violin, B Harikumar on mridangam and Maanjur Unnikrishnan on ghatam lent adroit support.
The fest opened with a session of Syama Sastry and Muttiah Bhagavatar with Chennai-based B Lalitha Madhav as the inaugural vocalist. Ably accompanied by B Durgabhavani on violin and Mandapaka Nagalakshmi on mridangam, she began it with Mate Malayadwaja of Muttiah Bhagavatar and chose raga Bhairavi for delineation for Sarievvaramma of Syama Sastry as the mainstay.
Among young talents, KSS Govinda sang the compositions of Patnam Subrahmanya Ayyar with a fair grasp of musical intricacies.
M Neeladrirao on violin and M Edukondalu on mridangam let good support.
Kasturi Kamala Deepthi ladled out the compositions of Mysore Vasudevachar and sage Narayana Theertha. It was an energetic and eloquent session where ragas Sunadavinodini for Devadideva and Bilahari for Sri Chamundeswari and others came alive with subtle gamakas.
Mala Ramadorai’s Hindustani vocal, Jaywant Naidu’s Hawaiian guitar, Vaggeyakara Vaibhavam, a dance ballet by Abhinaya Kuchipudi Arts Academy delighted the audience. The academy honoured veena artiste Mallapragada Jogulamba with its Sarada Sangeeta Purasakaram.