The three-day Akashvani music festival, with fine compositions and tuneful renditions, was a treat to the audience.

Music lovers of Vijayawada were treated to a three-day musical fare from April 16 to 18 at Gokaraju Laila Gangaraju Kalavedika, . Six concerts were held, two on each day, and each singer was given a particular vaggeyakara's compositions to render. The composers represented by the vocalists were Thyagaraja, Muthuswamy Dikshitar, Syamasastry, Swathi Thirunal, Mysore Vasudevacharya and Patnam Subramanya Iyer.

Fine voice and mature rendition: The inaugural concert was by Vasundhara Rajagopalan. She sang Thyagaraja kritis and began with Sugunamule in chakravakam, finishing it with good kalpana swaras. Next she sang Sitapathe in Khamas. An efficient and elaborate alapana was presented by her preceding the Devamanohari kriti Evarikai. Vasundhara rendered the tough raga with ease and raga bhava. Dorakuna in Bilahari was her main item. Violinist H.N. Bhasker essayed the raga melodiously. His Devamanohari version also was remarkable. U. Hari (mridangam) and Tiruchi Murali on ghatam lent able support.

Sumptuous fare from veteran duo: The next concert was by Rudrapatnam brothers R.N. Thyagarajan and R.N. Taranathan who were allotted the compositions of Mysore Vasudevacharya. The duo began with Mandari varnam followed by the Athana kriti Sri Saraswathi Bhagavathi in Athana rendering it with brief and scholarly kalpana swaras. Thyagarajan delineated Latangi with a scholarly approach painting the raga picture in an elaborate manner. The kriti Dayaleka in Sriranani. Taranathan sang the alapana sumptuously and fine kalpana swaras were rendered by both.

Fine team work: The second day's programme started with a superb vocal duet by Malladi brothers Sriram Prasad and Ravikumar. Disciples of Nedunuri Krishnamurthy and sons of vidwan Malladi Suribabu, the brothers mesmerised the audience with their thrilling presentation of Dikshitar compositions. After Sriram Prasad began with a brief but fine alapana of Nata the duo sang Parameswara and rendered kalpana swaras vying with each other with admirable understanding. Palladam Ravi's soothing and perfect supporting technique was an attractive feature. For the main item Balasubramanya, Prasad and Ravi belted out a superb version of Surati with sumptuous raga, soulful niraval and efficient swaras. N.C. Madhave gave them admirable support and presented raga essays.

Scholarly depth: The second concert of the day was vocals by Omana Kutty of Kerala, an experienced singer who got vocal support from B. Arundhathi. She was given the compositions of Swathi Thirunal. Her concert began with Pahi Sripathe in Hamsadhvani finishing it with brief swaras. This was followed by Devapalaya Murare in Asaveri. Poorvikalyani, one of the major items in the concert was delineated by Omana Kutty with a scholarly approach preceding the kriti Pancha bana tanuhara with appealing niraval and swara kalpana. Omana Kutty took up Rasa vilasa in Kambhoji for the main item. The raga was portrayed with scholarly depth but in the upper octave the singer had a little discomfort. Her vast experience made up amply to give a fine picture of the dignified raga. The concert ended with a thillana in Anandabhairavi and a bhajan. She was accompanied efficiently on violin by S.V. Ramachandran. Percussion support came from R. Vaidyanathan (mridangam) and S. Muralidharan (morsing).

Rich repertoire: The last day's programme began with a melodious vocal concert by V.L. Tulasi Viswanath of Rajahmundry. A senior disciple of Annavarapu Ramaswamy, Tulasi is a specialist in singing rare ragas and pallavis. Given to render Syamasastri's kritis Tulasi began with Begada varnam and followed with Sankari Samkuru (Saveri) set to adi tala in trisra gati.

Tulasi gave a fine bhava laden picture of Natakuranji before rendering the kriti Mayamma. With her sweet voice, Tulasi elaborated the tarasthayi phrases with great clarity and crisp brigas in her raga exposition. A rare kriti Parvati in Kalgada was also rendered. The main item in Tulasi's concert was sumptuous Kalyani in which she rendered the tough composition Talli Ninnu in Misrachapu Talam.

Brilliant exposition: In the last concert of the fest, Sartalai K.N. Ranganatha Sarma gripped the attention of the audience. With his melodious and powerful voice, he sang the composition of Patnam Subramanya Iyer. He began with Ninnu joochi (Sourashtra) followed by Garuda Gamana in Nagaswaravali. His dynamism and superb traditional style came to fore in major items Aparadhamulanniyu (Latangi) and Nee padamule (Bhairavi) which were presented with aesthetically satisfying raga delineations and intricately mathematical swara kalpanas. Sarma's concert came to a close with a fine thillana.

These concerts will be broadcast on Akashvani beginning May 30. The music feast was attended by nearly 2000 music lovers each day. Before each concert, station director of Vijayawada Akashvani, Mangalagiri Aditya Prasad, also a musician and musicologist, gave a brief on the composer.

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