The beauty of Saint Tyagaraja’s kritis is the underlying bhakti in them. His kritis again are virtual theorems on raga treatises and Rama Bhakti was his life. His outpourings were the resultant effect of the bliss he attained through his steadfast faith. Glimpses of these aspects were evident in R. Suryaprakash’s concert this past Friday, at Sri Ram Samaj’s Tyagaraja Mahotsavam, at Ayodhya Aswamedha Maha Mandapam, West Mambalam.
Singing at Ayodhya Mantapam is one real test for any singer, for he has to compete with the cacophony of the traffic, sometimes in tune, but mostly aberrations, from the Arya Gowder Road abutting it.
Oblivious to the distraction, Suryaprakash gave respectable treatment to Darbar. ‘Mundu Venuka’ ( Adi), where Tyagaraja describes Rama as the abode of Pranava, was rendered neatly, sans swaras. ‘Brovabharama’ ( Bahudari-Adi) found him doing the niraval in the charanam line, ‘Kalashaambudhilo’. Shades of his guru TVS appeared while he traversed the upper octaves with telling effect and also in the swara segment that followed. Chandramouli’s(violin) adopted a seasoned approach, while Raja Rao’s tekkas were mesmerising. An ever smiling Tiruchi Murali embellished the proceedings further.
Suryaprakash’s Subhapantuvarali delineation passed muster while Chandramouli detailed it in a more expressive manner. The pace for ‘Ennalu Urakay’ (misra chapu) was apt. A racy ‘Anupama Gunambudhi’ (Atana) preceded Sankarabharanam, the main raga of the evening. Overall the raga exposition lacked spontaneity. The gesticulatory motion of the hands of the singer looked so concocted that one even feared that he might hit the accompanist, as he spread his hands like swimmer Michael Phleps!
Despite tonal purity, his delineation was never transcendental. Chandramouli in his reply proved his mettle. Thankfully the kriti phase (‘Enduku Peddalavale’) sounded better. Veteran Raja Rao lifted the concert to a different level with his varied abiprayams during the tani. Weaving myriad patterns in the first and second phase of the tani in the company of Tiruchi Murali, it was a statement on laya that evening.