Music maestro T. M Krishna's kutcheri typified his popular, unorthodox approach
‘Fame is the last infirmity of a noble mind', said John Milton. Musical genius T.M. Krishna chose to tread the unchartered course which is the hallmark of individuality. The audience and fans of the musician gathered at the Thyagaraja Aradhana festival under the aegis of Sharada Cultural Trust at Keyes High School were treated to a variety Carnatic concert which opened with a tanam in the Pancharatna ragas in Krishna's inimitable style and artistry. One thing comes out very clear in this vocalist's rendition. His peculiarities notwithstanding, he has managed to stay abreast with his finesse in presenting a musical piece which has been close to wizardry. This has won him applause, admirers and accolades, so far.
Since a Carnatic kutcheri has a set format, it is generally not tampered with and to all arguments countering this, the only thing that can be said is being untraditional defeats the purpose of tradition itself. So where does one stand? The lovely tapestry of a tanam gave way to the Nama kusumamulache in Sri which was replete with emotive sangathis and the neraval at Sreeman maanasa underlined the import of the lyric with the stress on each word constantly changing as he wound through the anupallavi. A peek into the musician's sophistry as he shifted pace catapulted this dignified raga on to another level.
A meandering alapana of the Begada with the violin (R.K. Sriram Kumar) following closely permeated the venue, with audience suppressing their excitement about what was to follow. The vocalist declared he would not go ahead with the kriti and the alapana was to be treated as a unique piece unto itself. Even before the listeners could sigh, out came, Chedda buddhi maanura manasa in Atana! It was rendered with visible vehemence. For a change we had the violin take the lead for the next alapana in Gowlipanthu and a padam followed from TMK.
TMK got into his element with the Kharaharapriya, Nee samana mevaru embellishing the sangathis in his characteristic way. Modulating his tone as he expanded on the line Palukulaku tene he brought the beauty of the lyric to the fore with his virtuosity. Impromptu swarakalpana was an exhilarating experience as he tossed the swaras across in tisra chaapu. This was the highlight of the evening concert though the Surati that followed happened to be the centrepiece. Gitardhamu spoke eloquently on the sangathis, neraval (Harivarardhulu…) while the raga nuances discernible in the winding swarakalpana was more of a swararchana to music. Suddenly, very Krishnasque, we had an uneasy pause which normally had to be filled with the taniavarthanam. However, Poongulam Subramaniam rose to the occasion before the audience could give up on his display of prowess. Anirudh Atreya on the kanjeera had a stylish, impressive way of handling his instrument.
Keywords: T. M Krishna