The Fifth Anniversary celebrations of Rajhesh Vaidhya’s Chamber Concerts featured Dr. Radha Bhaskar and Rajhesh Vaidhya on the second day. One could not help notice the irony — that the so called chamber concerts were held in a marriage hall conducive to high decibel fares.
Radha with her open throated articulation offered a mellow Ritigowla (‘Enna punniyam’), a spirited Mohanam (‘Jagadeeswari’) and a soulful Subha Pantuvarali (‘Sri Sathya narayanam’) in that order. ‘Jagadeeswari’ had its quota of colourful swarakalpana and so was ‘Sri Sathyanarayanam.’ Radha Bhaskar’s academic and practical knowledge of classical music came to the fore in the way she framed the ragas and swaras and portrayed the kriti. The raga tones, the swara specialities and the compositions’ highpoints were made candid with professional poise. The lighter hues of Mohanam and the heavy and internalised upper register touches to the Subha Pantuvarali were well brought out by Radha and deserve special mention.
Radha concluded her concert with a Meera Bhajan and a tillana. Kovai Chandran on the violin slightly underplayed his role probably keeping the time factor in mind. Contrastingly, Nellai Balaji and Nerkundram Shankar, were more lively on the mridangam and the kanjira.
Rajhesh Vaidhya opened with a bang jolting the full hall of anticipating audience with a big band of youngsters on the mridagam, kanjira, tabla, ghatam, morsing, timing and two keyboards. He had chosen to present his own compositions starting with a colourful Sindubhairavi number. This was preceded by Thodakashtakam played on the lines of ‘Venkatesa Sthothram’ (‘Kamala kucha’) from Sri Venkatesa Suprabatham.
On the stage was Rajhesh the conductor rather than the vainika. He was at the helm of an exuberant, high decibel orchestra and incidentally played the veena also. However the crowd seemed to love it, lustily cheering what was going on. The issue is not whether Rajhesh Vaidya performed for the connoisseur. He knew how to please the audience with his musical arsenal. Period.