Manda Sruti Ravali at Kalavanta 2014 proved that she was a serious musician in the making
You ask musical acumen? Technique and style? Voice power? Manda Sruti Ravali, winner of the prestigious Naad Bhed competition, who sang at Kalavanta 2014 in Bangalore recently, has it all. Her music is robust with solid grounding, and for a 22-year-old, her repertoire vast.
With a demeanour sincere and austere, Sruti Ravali, presented a series of kritis in unusual ragas – the first being “Saadhu Tada Nija Bhamini” from Swati Tirunal Maharaja’s Kuchelopakhyanam. The kriti, which has an unmistakable stamp of the composer M. Balamuralikrishna, traverses the octaves, exploiting the vakra nature of this raga. Sruti, with commendable ease rendered this composition that sheds the weight of solid classicism and celebrates the possibilities of the raga. Her alapane in Mohana, short and chaste, led to a good rendition of Mysore Vasudevacharya’s “Rara Rajeeva Lochana Rama”. H.M. Smita on the violin was at her creative best playing the raga. The beautiful Kannada Gowla Tyagaraja krithi “Sogasu Chooda Tarama” was followed by “Raja Raja Radhite” in raga Niroshta. Sruti’s singing for this kriti was superior -- brisk and with perfect gamakas. Full of daatu prayogas, her swara prastara was competent.
The main kriti of the concert was in Varali which Sruti sang with conviction. Her voice has a good range which was put to good use during the delineation of the raga. Even though there were flashes of brilliance, there flat moments too, making it uneven and patchy. She took on the lovely “Maamava Meenakshi” epitomised by MS. Raghavan shone on the mridanga and presented a tani avartana that clearly was inspired by the masters.
Sruti Ravali’s concert was engaging. She is undoubtedly an exceptionally talented young musician who seems to have the capability to achieve complex things easily. But this itself can work as hindrance, since music doesn’t always ride on intelligence. With the superlative guidance that is available to her, Sruti must be able to set higher goals for herself and nurture her music with perseverance. There were momentary temptations to give her music a light touch (particularly in Vakulabharanam), which may not work well for a serious artiste like her.