It is a silver jubilee music season for mridangam vidwan K.V. Prasad, for he had first played during the Season way back in 1984. He celebrated the occasion with a telling display of his artistry over the instrument that evening accompanying Malladi Brothers in their evening concert. S. Vardarajan (violin) and Vaikkom Gopalakrishnan (ghatam) were the other accompaniments.
The brief Kedaram alapana only indicated the graph’s path that evening. As for content and quality, it kept rising up the x-axis, making the concert an electrifying one. After ‘Rama Nee’ ( Adi-Tyagaraja), it was an emotional rendering of ‘Samayamu Telisi’ (Mishra Chapu-Tyagaraja) with Prasad and Gopalakrishnan combining well to give the song the impetus with their fantastic nadai.
Then Ravikumar, the younger of the two, took Lathangi for alapana. Gifted with a resonant voice, he swam through the ocean of Lathangi employing different strokes. The silent pauses between the phrases made one feel as if he was floating. An ever-smiling Varadarajan gave equally a spirited reply, impregnating the raga further with lovely phrases. ‘Venkataramana’ (Rupakam-Sivan) helped the duo keep up the tempo of the concert and so were the kalpanaswaras. The enthralled crowd gave a thunderous applause.
The brothers further took the rasikas with them when they sang ‘Santhamu Leka’ (Adi-Sama-Tyagaraja). That this kriti was being heard after a long time was evident by the oohs and aahs from the rasikas when the brothers began it.
Dikshitar’s ‘Nagagandhari’ (Adi-Nagagandhari) at a faster pace acted as the end change bowler after which Sriram Kumar dived into Mayamalavagowla. Traversing the octaves and keeping the traditional purity in tact, he completed it with aplomb. Blending with the vocalists’ style, Varadarajan’s sketch shone like a pearl. A virtually unknown and rare composition ‘Devi Sri Tulasi’ of Tyagaraja (Adi) was presented. Controlled aggression was the hallmark of the thani. Prasad’s sollus and nadais were countered by Gopalakrishnan on the same lines. The highlight of the end pieces was a Narayana Teertha Taranagam ‘Sri Nilayam’ tuned in Desh by Malladi Suribabu, the duo’s father.