There was plenty of variety at this edition of the Akashvani Sangeeth Sammelan

This year’s edition of Akashvani Sangeeth Sammelan was simultaneously conducted at AIR’s 33 kendras on September 28. The Chennai All India Radio Multi-track Recording Studio Auditorium featured three interesting programmes. It was, indeed, an odd and exotic sequence, as the concerts included a sublime classical Hindustani vocal, a vibrant thavil laya vinyasam and a melodious flute recital.

Dr. Mohan Kumar Darekar from Pune showcased two ragas in detail -- Behag and Kaushik Kanada. Mohan Kumar has a captivating voice and has been trained in the Gwalior and Benaras gharanas.

His opening phrases of Behag were instantly appealing; since the raga offers extraordinary potential to bring out its myriad shades, Darekar did not miss any opportunity to showcase them through his vilambit khayal in ek taal, ‘Bhaje More Payal Janana’ and segued into durit kaal with exciting akaras and swaras for the catch phrase ‘Jashomathi Julabi Raina.’

With the same ease, style and depth he expounded Kaushik Kananda and here the refrains were ‘Raja Sriramachandra Rajanake’ in vilambit and ended with durit ‘Damodhar Hari Naam Boloan’.

Able support

Mohan Kumar added extra lustre to the concert with the concluding tappa and tarana in Khamaj and a soulful bhajan in Misra Keeravani. Dr. Darekar was well supported by Arvind Kumar Azad on the tabla and Subhash Dasakar on the harmonium.

There is no gainsaying that no other percussion instrument can emphasise rhythmic power as strongly as thavil. Always accompanying an equally regal instrument such as the nagaswaram, thavil is well known for its commanding presence. AIR chose to allot an exclusive slot for highlighting the laya patterns by Mannargudi M.R. Vasudevan on the thavil.

A seasoned player that he is, Vasudevan’s instrument roared via varying paths of kandam, tisram and sarvalagu designs to the finale. His dominant performance was backed by Kovilur K.G. Somanathan on the nagdaswaram (a precise pallavi piece in Thodi) and Sembonnar Koil Jothilingam on talam.

Youthful team

The final segment witnessed an enjoyably youthful team presenting classical music with special accent on melody. A child prodigy who has blossomed into a promising flute artist, Amit A. Nadig played the bamboo reed with supreme confidence and absolute time sense. He shared the credits with Mysore N Karthik on the violin, K.U. Jayachandra Rao on the mridangam and Tumkur B. Shashishankar on the ghatam. ‘Raghunayaka’ of Tyagaraja in Hamsadhwani with bright swaras led to Ranjani raga essay and ‘Durmargachara’ of Tyagaraja again. His improvisation on the charanam was significant in the excellent way Karthik responded to him here.

The main piece ‘Chakkani Raja’ in Kharaharapriya and the extension on ‘Kantiki Sundara’ once again reiterated the beautiful musical chemistry shared by Amit and Karthik. Both these artists need special appreciation for not allowing their ingenuity to be clouded by flamboyant frills.

There by, the raga parts were a treat to listen to and the swara sallies were lively without being loud. The youngsters on percussion were restrained but played a pulsating tani.

Akashvani needs to be lauded for not only organisng such a colourful programmes but also for making arrangements for the stage in a jiffy for the different genres.

However, the foyer and the toilets of the auditorium cry for better maintenance.