Keyboard duet by R. Arjun Sambasivan and R. Narayan at the Upasana Kala Sangha was elaborate and created a rich melange of melody and rhythm.
A keyboard duet by teenage artistes R. Arjun Sambasivan and R. Narayan, accompanied by Venkatesh Joshier (violin), L. Subramaniyan (mridanga), and Sunaad Anoor (kanjira), was hosted by Upasana Kala Sangha, Bangalore, recently.
A brief outline of Todi and ‘Eranapai’ the adi thala varna, set the tone for the ensuing items of the concert, which were steeped in melody and tradition. ‘Varanamukha’, the Koteeswara Iyer composition set to Hamsadhwani raga and rupaka thala, was crowned with a spate of lilting and fluent kalpana swaras.
A small sketch of Khamas prefaced Mysore Vasudevacharya’s ‘Brochevarevarura’ in adi thala, played in a sedate tempo that illumined the beauty of the piece. Intricate sancharas and brigas, interspersed with gamakas where warranted and suffused with raga bhava, characterised the succeeding alapana of Panthuvarali. ‘Appa Rama Bhakthi’, the Thyagaraja krithi in rupaka thala was supplemented with a beautifully crafted neraval and kalpana swaras in the second speed.
A compact alapana of Anandabhairavi that stayed true to the classical identity of the raga was followed by the Shyama Sastri krithi “Marivere Gathi” in mishra chapu thala, rendered at a measured pace commensurate with the gait and majesty of the composition.
The main raga of the evening, Kamboji, elaborated in some detail, was replete with fine touches and alluring spontaneous sancharas. ‘O Rangashayi’, the magnificent Thyagaraja krithi in adi thala, did not feature a neraval, but was ornamented with kalpana swaras in two speeds suffixed to the charana line ‘Bhuloka Vaikuntha’, and also included several rounds of ragamalika swaras which created a rich melange of melody and rhythm.
On the whole, the young lead artistes displayed tremendous talent, confidence, and a commendable grip over laya and the technicalities of the idiom. While a slower and more tranquil progression in the raga alapanas would have underscored the essays more effectively, the concert also attested to impressive powers of improvisation and aesthetic acumen, with the duo establishing an easy rapport with the accompanying artistes.
Unstinted support and prompt responses from the seasoned violinist, and enthusiastic and expert accompaniment from the young percussionists, whose mettle was apparent in the elaborate thani avarthana, were highlights of the performance.