Kadri Gopalnath was at his energetic best once again. G. SWAMINATHAN

Instrumentalists invariably enjoy an edge over vocalists because they can manipulate tricky twist or delicate sangatis on their instruments, something the voice cannot produce. Nevertheless, this advantage can be a double-edged sword as it can make or mar the beauty of a raga or song. How this quality is judiciously deployed depends on the performer.

Kadri Gopalnath, with his saxophone, has created a niche for himself, no doubt. He has mastered certain ragas and kritis and repeatedly plays them to the delight of the rasikas.

Kanyakumari, the violinist, is an integral part of this musical odyssey on many occasions. This concert was a mixture of art and instrumental acrobatics, energetically bolstered by Tiruchi B. Harikumar on the mridangam, Tirupunithura N. Radhakrishnan on the ghatam and Bangalore B. Rajasekar on the morsing. That day, every item was given a grand and noisy percussion padding finale.

The Abhogi varnam, Bahudari raga and Tulasivanam’s ‘Bhaja Manasa’ with long winding swaraprasthara, Arabhi Pancharatnam, a modest Kharaharapriya raga essay and ‘Rama Nee Samanamevaru’ were the notable numbers.

The central item was Ragam Tanam Pallavi in raga Soorya (Kadri said it is Sooryakauns in Hindustani) and a pallavi composed by the artist himself set to adi tala. All raga essays, especially the last one, had clipped phrases, amazing leaps, precarious swings and whatnot, exclusive to the instrumental masters. Naturally, these created more sound than music.

The course of tanam, pallavi and swaras shared by Gopalnath and Kanyakumari was another roller coaster ride than an aesthetic musical journey.

As referred to earlier, the tireless percussionists had a field day while the main artists vied with each other in their musical expedition.