Jugalbandi Listening to Lalgudi Vijayalakshmi and Pravin Godkinde was a pleasant experience, as was the concert by Kunnakkudy Balamuralikrishna.
The jugalbandi between Lalgudi Vijayalakshmi on the violin and Pravin Godkinde on the flute for Brahma Gana Sabha, was a reasonably pleasant experience. The raga delineations were handled by each artist in his/her own style, Carnatic and Hindustani respectively.
After an alapana of Hamsadhwani, Vijayalakshmi took up ‘Vatapi Ganapatim'; though Pravin's was a different bandish, it sounded very much like the Dikshitar composition. Swarams for the madhyamakala phrase in the charanam also were played in the two different styles.
The evocative and leisurely elaboration of Malayamarutham by Vijayalakshmi was marked by depth and was followed by Tyagaraja's ‘Manasa Etulo'. During the kalpanaswaras, the coordination between the violinist and Ramesh on the mridangam attracted attention. When his turn came, Pravin delineated Bageshree, a raga with which the audience is familiar, and played two pieces set to two different talas. Excellent control of fingering could be discerned in the fast-paced dribbles in the alap, but it was a little over done.
Charukesi was the raga chosen for the main piece. While it was a typical Carnatic alapana by Vijayalakshmi, it was soulful Hindustani flavour from Pravin. The pallavi set to adi talam 2 kalai by Lalgudi Jayaraman – apparently simple but quite intricate in reality – was handled with expertise by both; Pravin had no problem adapting to the Carnatic mode in the tanam and swara segments. Both played a soothing ragamalika also in the kalpanaswaras. For a while, the mridangam accompanied the flute and tabla, the violin. The avartana by Ramesh and Udhayraj Karpur was vibrant.
Satisfying for rasikas
The fairly full auditorium was proof of the growing popularity of Kunnakkudy Balamuralikrishna. He and his violin accompanist Akkarai Subbulakshmi vied with each other in the raga alapana.
The cheerful and lively mood that set in with the Kanada varnam in Ata talam and the song ‘Pahi Pahi Bala Ganapathe' in Hamsadhwani was sustained throughout the concert, in spite of the power playing truant frequently in the first half.
Balamurali's clarity in the sangatis, be it in the raga delineations or in the kritis as well as the proper enunciation of the lyric, combined with overall ‘azhutham' went a long way in making his concert worth listening to. Besides, as it was the beginning of the season his voice too was fresh.
The raga alapana of Chakravakam and the swaraprasthara for ‘Inkadayara' by Balamuralikrishna and Subbulakshmi were appealing. The sub-main was Udayaravichandrika with the Swati Tirunal composition ‘Saamodam.'
The vibrant delineations by the two artists explored the raga's nuances in detail, sticking to the swara framework; the niraval and the swaras also were equally good.
A fast paced Devamanohari piece ‘Kannatandri' was followed by the main item Kalyani.
The alapana by Balamurali gripped the interest of the listeners as he delved into the richness of the raga; his effort was matched by Subbalakshmi on the violin.
The chosen composition was ‘Etavunara' of Tyagaraja.
As much time was consumed by the earlier pieces, he had to be satisfied with a somewhat short span of kalpanaswaras and do away with niraval.
Chidambaram Balashankar on the mridangam and K.V. Gopalakrishnan on the ganjira gave commendable support and played an interesting thani.