Friday Review » Music

Updated: October 17, 2013 18:33 IST

Riding the waves

Venkatesan Srikanth
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U. Srinivas. Photo: K. Bhagya Prakash
The Hindu
U. Srinivas. Photo: K. Bhagya Prakash

U. Srinivas was at his best at the Akashvani Sangeet Sammelan in the Capital.

All India Radio recently organised a Carnatic music concert of mandolin by U. Srinivas as part of the Akashvani Sangeet Sammelan-2013, in the auditorium of Bharatiya Vidhya Bhavan, New Delhi. This year, AIR organised such concerts in Carnatic and Hindustani styles in 30 different places across the country. The recordings of these concerts are scheduled to be broadcast on the radio daily starting this Saturday (October 19), till December 11. The recordings are made before an invited audience.

The overwhelming participation of Delhi’s music lovers during Srinivas’ concert, as well as in Pandit Ulhas Kashalkar’s Hindustani vocal recital that took place just before it, proved yet again that the Sangeet Sammelan of AIR remains an important event in their calendar. The concert was also reminiscent of the another programme “Isai Saral”, conducted by AIR Chennai regularly, where concerts are audio and video recorded before an invited audience and later broadcast over the radio and telecast on Doordarshan. One is tempted to suggest to AIR to consider replicating this programme in Delhi and other important stations too.

The rich tonal quality produced by Srinivas, the pioneer in adopting the mandolin — an instrument of western origin — for Carnatic music, combined with excellent fingering technique, is a great attraction. This time too, in his recital of about an hour and a half, Srinivas delighted with some well presented items, including two rare compositions in ragas Vakulabharanam (the 14th melakarta raga) and Ratnangi (the 2nd melakarta raga) that are not heard frequently in music concerts.

Srinivas took up Gopalakrishna Bharathi’s “Sabhapatikku” in raga Abhogi and Tyagaraja’s “Etavunnara” in the raga Kalyani for detailed rendition. The brilliant alapana of both these ragas, the riveting rhythm he maintained while playing the latter piece and the scintillating swarprastaras at the end of the song were a treat to music lovers. V.V. Srinivasa Rao on the violin, V. Praveen on the mridangam and U.N. Giridhar Udupa on the ghatam provided excellent support. While Srinivasa Rao’s exposition of Kalyani was delightful, the percussion duo Praveen and Giridhar contributed significantly, both while accompanying the songs and while playing the taniavartanam (percussion solo) in Adi tala.

In the past, AIR broadcast recordings of the Sangeet Sammelan concerts on Medium Wave on all days and on the FM band only on Saturdays and Sundays. Since FM quality is much better, AIR should consider simultaneous broadcast of these recordings on FM too.

(The concert recording will be broadcast on All India Radio on December 8.)

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