Ganesh Rajagopalan and Debashish Bhattacharya's ‘Adrishta' concert held at Ravindra Bharathi was a stupendous success right from the start
Wedded by music, the violin and slide guitar seemed the most compatible couple on earth. Ganesh Rajagopalan on the violin seemed the masculine strain of Carnatic music: strong and steady with the velocity of the wind; Debashish Bhattacharya on the slide guitar was the feminine form: rich in melody, paced with poise like the earth.
On a roller coaster
The fortunate (Adrishta) duo took us on a roller-coaster at the Ravindra Bharathi auditorium on the second day of The Hindu Friday Review November Fest 2011. The concert was ordained for nothing short of stupendous success right from the start. The ragas presented were chosen that they had a thread of commonality running between them or an equivalent in both the Carnatic and Hindustani musical parlance.
We were initiated into the Madhyamavathi (Megh) with the composition of Sadaarang (18th century Niyamat Khan) set to Jhampa tala (Jhup taal). The opening notes of this stirring raga were an elaborate exposition of its finer aspects as Ganesh deftly wielded his bow-string on the violin.
The high concordance as the raga takes the first three notes of the cycle of fifth and fourth was so evident in his handling.
The concurrent Megh on the guitar, invoked the clouds to pour in its sweet, stringing melodic tones.
The rather rigid instrument seemed to melt in the hands of Debashish and it almost spoke in human voice like the veena.
In fact, the cadence was similar to that of veena. As Ganesh led in improvising this popular raga, Debashish's guitar followed suit. No, it was not repetitive. Far from it, each artiste gave his version of the raga in almost similar lines that it appeared to a follow-up but it had its innate identity.
The improvisations were markedly intricate as Ganesh and Debashish scaled the altitude in stunning speed as they whirled past the higher octave. The formal spin down was not just a fall, it was methodically calculated set of declining syllables totally rhythmic that came to a natural end. The tabla by Subhashish Bhattacharya and mridangam by Ananthakrishna literally were on a sport drive – trying to outdo each other while Trichi Krishna on the ghatam maintained a low tempo except towards the end of a true, blue taniavartham (solo percussion). The passionate Charukeshi (recently adapted to Hindustani) opened to a brilliant alapana by the violinist.
The nuances spoke eloquently on the instrument which were further enhanced by the guitar.
We never knew we would be shortly taken on a breath-taking trip of the heavens as both the artistes alternately set the pace which peaked and landed us on what seemed the heights of a beautiful snow-clad mount.
The stylish spill out of syllabic utterances in quick succession, without a breather was Ganesh's forte while Debashish took the cue and took wings flying into a boundless space on a rapid action mode. It was like a clap of thunder and lightning with the percussionists on an Abacus.
The triangular contest of tabla, mridangam and ghatam was worth a watch though Ananthakrishna emerged a clean victor. The sweet Sindhubhairavi gave a fitting finale to the marvellous ensemble.