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Managing tonal puddles

THE EFFORT of every musician who has gained some recognition is understandably to preserve the image willy-nilly. Those vidwans who happen to maintain the quality of the voice over the years reveal tremendous zeal for survival and adherence to technical competence. In the case of some, the process of creativity helps them develop sensitive overtones. What style an artiste with a good voice adopts matters very little. What vision he has counts. The musician's career therefore is intimately linked to how well the voice behaves.

But what of those whose voice, for some reason or other, has its own way. Soaring manodharma, sense of balance and adhoc technique, work at odds. Any attempt at camouflaging the state of such a musician's voice by way of exuberance in creativity leads but to destitution of daintiness in expressional exposition. Every step he takes in forming sancharas in alapanas is with the uncertainty as to how well or ill the voice would give life to it, particularly while negotiating in the tara sthayi. No doubt such adventures are minimal, but can tara sthayi be completely ignored? Contrivance to conceal handicaps is the resort.

Neyveli Santhanagopalan's cutchery was distinctive in one respect - prompting of platitudes of exposition with a veneer of aesthetic enjoyment. In a way it was a courageous effort to get over the tonal puddles. Imagistic brevity of alapanas from commanding heights from a facile voice speaks of musical sensitivity, but from a failing voice the message is entirely different. The vinyasas of Ananda Bhairavi (Manasa Guruguha) Pantuvarali (Sundara Dara Deham) Sriranjani (Sogasuga) Latangi at the completion of the song "Aparadamu" and Kanada ("Sukhi Evvaro) did not go beyond a few seconds which spoke of his awareness of his responsibility to the rasikas. M. A. Sundareswaran was the violinist who toed Santanagopalan's line. K. V. Prasad was the mridangist aided by the morsing player Srirangam Kannan. If Prasad had not exuberantly packed up the cutcheri, what would have been Santanagopalan's show?

Firm and bold

Purandaradasa day was celebrated by Sri Parthasarathy Swami Sabha with a concert by Sikkil Gurucharan with M. A. Sundareswaran on the violin, Vellore Ramabhadran on the mridangam and B. S. Purushothaman on the kanjira. With his firm and bold voice, he rendered "Yara Maganamma" (Bhairavi) `Yenu Dhanyalo" (Dhanyasi) and "Mukhya Praana" (Kalyani). With his good insight into the swaroopas of these ragas, the impact should have been much better with voice modulation in alapanas and articulation of sahityas. The accompanists were generous in their support.


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