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Bhairavi sans gamakas

T. N. SESHAGOPALAN'S was the first concert in the five-day Sri Jayanti music festival organised by the Sri Krishna Fine Arts Society, Nanganallur, recently. Starting with the Saveri Varnam, Sarasuda, he sang next Swara vaaram and then took up Bhairavi which was notable for all the wrong reasons. Over the last 50 or 60 years Bhairavi has changed a lot losing most of its Suddha dhaivata aspects with vidwans singing the raga often without the Chatusruti sancharas. What Seshagopalan did that day was even more novel — there were no gamakas in his raga; it looked like a raga coming out of a harmonium or saxophoneSeshagopalan's high decibel singing and the very loud loudspeaker constituted a formidable combination. The singer did come down to normal musical levels in his next piece, a good Kalyani, followed by ``Pankajalochana." S. D. Sridhar on the violin, Thrissur Narendran on the mridangam and Neyveli Venkatesh on the kanjira, kept pace with the main artiste in all aspects.

The highlight of second day's concert by Sanjay Subramanian was Todi in which he sang ``Kaddhanu Variki" of Tyagaraja. Adhering to the very traditional Sangathis, the singer did full justice to the song. He sang next ``Kaalaithooki'' in Yadukula Khambodhi. The next item, ``Sri Venugopala" of Dikshitar in Kurinji was a disaster. The singer repeatedly booing into the microphone, the fast pace and the loud tone destroyed the delicate beauty of the song. In the following ragamalika piece, however, the singer made up for all this. His Kedaragowla especially was brilliant. Kumbakonam M. R. Gopinath on the violin and T. K. Murthy on the mridangam were up to the mark.

The concert by the Mambalam Sisters exhibited enormous mechanical perfection. Starting with the majestic composition of Purandara Dasa in Nattai, ``Jaya Janaki Kantha," the sisters sang a rather truncated ``Endaro Mahanubhavulu," ``Gaanamorthe," a Shanmukhapriya piece, ``Maamava Karunaya," Ksheerasagara (Devagandhari Thyagaraja), a ragamalika of a marriage song. The total lack of emotion affected the Devagandhari piece, ``Ksheerasagara." R. Hemalatha on the violin was very good.

The last day's concert by Mala Chandrasekhar on the flute was a well planned one that evoked audience participation not normally seen now-a-days. Starting with the Sri Raga Varnam she played ``Saranam bhava Kannamayi" of Narayanatirta, ``Sriman Narayana" of Annamacharya in Bowli and ``Santhana Gopala" in Khamas. She played a very good and traditional Todi followed by the song ``Thaaye Yasoda."

In this piece as well as in the equally well-executed Khambodi piece, ``O Ranga Sayi," the audience showed their involvement by following the tala beats. The combination for the day — H.N. Bhaskaran on the violin, Kallidaikurichi Sivakumar on the mridangam formed a harmonious combination that made the music enjoyable. — G. D.

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