Brehath Sangeetolsavam was composed of thematic concerts highlighting different aspects of Carnatic music.

Brehath Sangeetolsavam 2013, a music festival in the Thiruvananthapuram, featured concerts by vocalists who chose to sing compositions based on a particular theme.

The interesting concept to have concerts with a thematic basis was well-received.

Panthula Rama

On the opening day, Panthula Rama sang kritis composed in ‘vakraragas’. Vakraragas are those derivatives of melakartha ragas that have a specific pattern of notes embedded in the primary structure during the ‘arohana’ and ‘avarohana’ in the scale. This pattern (or sometimes ‘prayogas’) infuses its soul into the raga, giving its unique identity.

The accomplished singer began with a Tyagaraja composition ‘Giri raja sudha’, a refreshing composition in Bangala raga (janya of Shankarabharanam).

In her charismatic voice, she rendered a brief outline of Reethigowla (janya of Kharaharapriya) that had unblemished long phrases and sangathis that tapered off with soothing landings. The vocalist is bestowed with a pronounced sweet bass range and she sounded clear in all the three octaves. ‘Paripalaya’, the kriti, had an effective swara portion. The graph of Poorvikalyani (janya of Gamanashrama), which was sketched with innovative glides, progressed through swift sangathis that went on to culminate in a descriptive essay. The visthara was tagged to the kriti ‘Paramapavana’ containing lengthy niraval and swara sections.

The highlight of the concert was the ragam thanam pallavi in Bindumalini raga (derivative of Chakravakam). The evocative raga visthara was a journey with classical trajectories, creating an upsurge of emotions in the rasikas. M.S.N. Moorthy on the violin played an awesome essay. The swara zone had transitions to Nalinakanti, Kathanakuthoohalam and Behag. Nanjil Arul and Trivandrum V. Karthikeyan ably supported the singer on the mridangam and ghatam respectively.

The familiar ‘Govardhana giridhara’ in Darbari Kanada was beautifully sung during the concluding phase of the concert.

Bharat Sundar

On the second day, young vocalist Bharat Sundar sang kritis dedicated to Lord Rama, which were steeped in bhakti. ‘Needayarada’, a composition by Tygaraja in Vasantha Bhairavi, was the first song. Bharat followed it up with ‘Brocheva’ in Kamas. His disciplined style and charming voice projected the grandeur of the composition.

Although Panthuvarali raga was technically well-elaborated, certain areas were deprived of the required modulations. A bit too much of throw and stress on many phrases caused an unpleasant increase in volume. An absorbing essay on the violin by Sampath had an immense impact. The expansive swara portion in the kriti ‘Aparama bhakthi’ attained an impressive climax.

‘Neekeladayaradu’, set to Khanda chapu in Sarasangi, was the interim kriti.

The lengthy Bhairavi raga delineation by Bharat and Sampath culminated in the main kriti, ‘Koluvai yunnade’. They were accompanied by G. Babu on the mridangam and Udupi Srikanth on the ganjira. The singer concluded with a kriti.

Parassala B. Ponnammal

The third concert was by veteran vocalist Parassala B. Ponnammal, who sang compositions by legendary composers from Kerala. The opening kriti was ‘Amba Gowri’ in Arabhi, which had a chittaswaram portion. This was followed by ‘Bhajamaheshri Vinayakam’ in Hamsadhwani and ‘Pahi nihila janani’ in Natta, both comprising swara sections set in a traditional style.

The kriti ‘Shripadakrishnapahimam’ in Poorvikalyani had detailed niraval and swaras. A vivid description of Thodi raga preceded the main kriti ‘Paradevathe’, a Malayalam kriti. Accompanying artistes were Attukal Balasubramaniam on the violin, Cherthala R. Jayadev on the mridangam and Mangad Pramod on the ghatam.

The singer’s diction in the sahityam throughout the concert was noteworthy.

B. Pusha Krishnan

On the final day, B. Pushpa Krishnan included kritis composed by ‘Sreshta Vaggeyakaras’ in her concert.

The main raga was Kalyani. Sampath’s fabulous extempore in Kalyani was perhaps one of the most beautiful experiences ever for the rasikas. His blissful recital also spoke volumes about Sampath’s mastery over the violin.

‘Bhajare’, set to Misra Chapu, was the main kriti.

Changanassery Jayan accompanied on the mridangam while Attingal Madhu was on the ghatam. The fete was organised by the Brehath Sangeetha Kendram in Thiruvananthapuram.