Fierceness rather than sobriety marked Sriram Gangadharan's concert. The Trichur Brothers' voices have gained depth and range.
An artist's freedom to exercise his/her manodharma works in different ways for different artists. Sriram Gangadharan's manodharma sounded more like an aggressive soldier entering the battle field.
His opening Vasantha varnam and the ‘Eka Dandam Bhajeham' of Dikshitar in Bilahari appended with a long, loud array of swaras, testified this. Voice is not Gangadharan's strongpoint ; he has to strain himself visibly to extract music. Further, his musical postures also show fierceness rather than sobriety. In the Saveri alapana that followed, one could see flashes of his commitment to the musical idiom. Syama Sastri's ‘Sankari Sankuru Chandarmukhi' went on a speedy track. The niraval at ‘Samaganalole Bale' emphasised that if he wished he could sail smoothly but his penchant for stridency overtook him again.
For quietude, he rendered ‘Santhamu Leka' in Sama but before one could heave a sigh of relief, he started his forceful style on the Andolika kriti ‘Sevikka Vendum Ayya' (Muthu Tandavar) and the swaras once more became too cluttered.
Being assertive is good but how it is done becomes critical in any form of art. It is better Sriram Gangadharan tries to infuse subtlety to his renditions instead of overtly demonstrating his insistence in a variety of ways. The Kalyani alapana was more chaotic with clipped phrases and bits and pieces thrown indiscriminately. ‘Enthuku E Manasu' of Tyagaraja was his choice here.
If at all the concert could be endured, it was because of the melodic support by B.U. Ganesh Prasad on the violin. The swaras and ragas had coherency and fluidity. Poongulam Subramaniam too elevated the uncompromising vocal tirade of the vocalist with perfect, sonorous rhythmic designs on the mridangam in the company of Srirangam Kannan on the morsing.
The spirit of youth and zest pervaded throughout the concert of Trichur Brothers Srikrishna and Ramkumar. There was feel sans flamboyance; energy eschewing exuberance. These qualities definitely helped this young duo to bring out the best of what they have learnt.
Khamas was essayed with well defined motifs and touched some of the not only macro but micro phrases of the raga. ‘Sujana Jeevana' of Tyagaraja was sung in a slightly relaxed manner and the way the siblings executed the niraval avoiding swaras at ‘Charu netra srikalatra' was captivating. The major treatise of Simhendramadyamam was undoubtedly an exercise where both Srikrishna and Ramkumar almost covered the entire gamut of the expressions of the raga in no uncertain terms. There were phrases that entertained the senses delicately, touched the heart tenderly and impressed the intellect intelligently. Their voices have gained depth and range in recent times and could traverse freely without hitches and this was used astutely to their advantage.
Mysore Vasudevachar's ‘Ninne Nammithi Nayya' with its multitudes of sangatis and the niraval on the line ‘Pannekendra Sayana' unfolded with great zeal. The madhyama kala swaras were briskly exchanged between the brothers, who switched over to the kuraippu swaras focusing on rishabam, leading to the ultimate korvai without any meandering.
M.A. Krishnaswamy's violin versions of the raga, niraval and swaras were in right proportion. Trichur Mohan and Anirudh Athreya on the percussion front with the mridangam and ganjira, backed the duo unobtrusively. Their quick-fire tani was a compromise on the extended rendition of the main raga and kriti.
The concert started with the Bhairavi Ata tala varnam ‘Viriboni' and travelled through ‘Pancha Mathanga' in Malahari (Dikshitar), ‘Bogindra Sayeenam' in Kuntalavarali (Swati Tirunal) and concluded with ‘Irakkam Varaamal' in Behag (Gopalakrishna Bharati).