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Friday Review » Music

Updated: December 21, 2010 19:21 IST

There's magic in his voice

G. Swaminathan
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T.N. Seshagopalan. Photo: S.R. Raghunathan
The Hindu T.N. Seshagopalan. Photo: S.R. Raghunathan

TNS's raga treatises never tread the beaten track.

A stage comes when one needs to invent some new adjectives to analyse or review the music of maestros such as T.N. Seshagopalan. He has crossed the stage of presenting music for music's sake and has moved to dissecting a raga or kirtana to expose its subtexts.

If the opening navaragamalika varnam sounded too naïve and straight forward for TNS's liking, he readily pulled the audience into a complex swara storm for ‘Meru Samana' in Mayamalavagowla. The jandai, dattu, jumping swaras created dizziness.

To give credit to violinist Delhi P. Sunderrajan, he responded with similar complex playing but added a fair dose of melody.

TNS's raga treatises never tread the beaten track; he turns into a voyager who tries to explore every nook and cranny of a raga, making the audience gasp and wonder. The take-offs were like the launch of a propellant. In between, one got to wander in the cloud of mystic images of the raga so far never seen.

You can be sure that if you heard TNS presenting the same Vachaspati raga elsewhere, his imagination will take you not up the sky but down deep into the sea.

With a complex collage of Vachaspati, TNS chose ‘Ennalunee' of Patnam Subramania Iyer. His niraval and swaras in the charanam were daring.

After a few simple and forthright swaras, Seshagopalan went into his investigative mode and thus the final swara trail was extended to incredible lengths before landing on a tricky but discerning korvai. Sunderrajan avoided the early wild trips, but picked up on the landing swaras on shadjam and brought his part to an admirable climax.

Vellore Ramabhadran on the mridangam was a personification of sobriety. His fingers never turned harsh. In his company, N. Guruprasad followed suit and the percussion section was within enjoyable decibel levels.


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