Brahma Gana Sabha: was team work at its best.
The concert by Sikkil Gurucharan showed what team work could do to enhance the quality of a programme. Nagai Sriram on the violin, Mannargudi Easwaran on the mridangam and Guruprasad on the ghatam were happy, understanding accompanists for the main artist.
The Nalinakanti varnam ‘Neeve gathiyani’ set a cheerful beginning to the concert followed by ‘Padavini’ in Salakabhairavi; this song had interesting kalpanaswaras for the Pallavi.
A vibrant detailing of Hamsanadam by Gurucharan touched the subtle nuances of the raga; Sriram was equally good at all his efforts, be it the alapana or swaraprastara, except that his instrument sounded somewhat tinny. GNB’s composition ‘Bharama’ came as a pleasant surprise with niraval of ‘Sarasakshi Sakalaloka Rakshaki’. After an interlude with ‘Gnanasabhayil Thillai’ in Saranga, the highlight of the concert Natabhairavi was taken up for sophisticated essay. The first half was dealt with in an unhurried manner and quite a bit in the lower range, while the second half had flurry of prayogams in the higher scale. Sriram proved an effective asset in his effort. Tyagaraja’s ‘Chetulara’ was originally in Natabhairavi, though some musicians render it in Bhairavi or Kharaharapriya; fortunately Gurucharan chose the original version with niraval and swaras for ‘Sethubandana,’ which had a similar approach to the alapana.
The percussionists seemed to play the swaras on their instruments. When the Thani followed the two enjoyed each other’s calculations to the delight of the other two and the audience as well.
Another enjoyable interlude before the RTP was ‘Kanakasabhaiyil Kandapiragum’ in Kaapi. Even though it came after the lengthy Natabhairavi, the Poorvikalyani alapana and Tanam were an inspired effort by both the vocalist and the violinist. The Pallavi ‘Anandanatanam Aadinar …’ set to Kandajati Triputa Tala has been composed by Easwaran; the swaras by Gurucharan often seemed set to the ‘sollus’ of the Tala! There was a brief Thani by Easwaran and Guruprasad too. The final items were a Ragamalika – one raga for each line – by Thanjavur Kalyanaraman and a tillana in Suratti.