Stalwarts impress with their classicism
Rudrapatnam Brothers, Ramakanth and Taranath
N. C. Soundaravalli, senior exponent of vocal Carnatic music, has had Maharajapuram Santhanam's guidance for many years. Valajapettai Venkatramana Bagavatar's "Nenarunchi" in Chakravaham was a worthy version, while Papanasam Sivan's "Gajavadana" in Sriranjani with swaras for "Neeye moovulagirku," signalled an interesting mature performance ahead. Suddha Dhanyasi explored with sincere fidelity to the raga bhava, and Purandaradasa's "Narayana" with emotionally charged niraval and swaras for the lyrics "Krishna Krishna" were fitting examples of the artiste's long commitment to the art. Todi, chosen for Ragam, Tanam and Pallavi, was a clear definition of the soul of the melody, the Tanam, the 4 kalai Pallavi with Anuloma, Partiloma, and the raga malika chain with pleasing ragas Behag, Kanada, Varali, Kapi Valaji and Revati were results of meticulous practice and concentration.
M. S. Anantharaman's enthusiasm and cheer on stage is infectious, and he provided optimum support throughout the kutcheri, remarkable for one who has celebrated his 80th birthday. Thanjavur Kumar, sensitive percussionist and a sishya of Tanjore Upendran, lifted the standards of the programme with his sagacious accompaniment. He and Madipakkam Murali proved their individual abilities in their tani avartanam played for Tyagaraja's Poorvikalyani kriti, "Paraloka Sadhaname" in Adi Talam.
Suguna Varadachari's vocal concert got under way with the Nattai vatnam "Sarasijanabha" and "Chintadeerchana" in Sowrashtram with swara improvisations in the pallavi. The niraval for the sahitya "Tamasadi Guna rahithudu" in Tyagaraja's Harikambhoji song "Undedi Ramudu" and swaras with an energetic demeanour were well within the ambit of classicism. Suguna's musical instincts are consistently sharp, and she revealed her depth of vidwath in her detailed Surutti alapana.
Akkarai Subbulakshmi is showing steady progress. Her Surutti alapana suffused rasika hearts with melody. "Sri Vanchanatham Bhaje ham," a majestic kriti of Dikshitar, was sung with a sensitive predilection for the lyrical excellence and raga bhava. The singer delved deep into the soul of the royal Sankarabharanam, extracting many nuggets wrapped with the essence of the raga. The violinist's display was a mature, sophisticated exploration. The neraval and swaras for the composition "Evidhamula" covering a sizeable gamut were governed by quite a measure of artistic and rhythmic expression.
Kallidaikurichi Sivakumar and Tiruchi Murali on the mridangam and ghatam respectively, built an impressive rhythmic structure in their tani avartanam with all the laya phrases falling into place, keeping the rhythmic chalice full with graceful laya patterns. The vocalist's and violinist's Shanmukhapriya alapanas were rendered with ear-pleasing efficiency, without being flashy. The tanam rooted in traditional cadences was well designed and executed by both artistes. The pallavi was within the framework of chatursra jathi Ata talam, kanta nadai and the take off point of the lyrics 9 aksharas away from the beginning of the tala. ``Pannirukaiyane, enai aalum arumukhane, mukkannan unnai eendra magane was an acme of pedantic precision with the faultless niraval, the three tempo exercises and the swaras in the two speeds were effective in indicating the relish of the artiste in raising performance levels.
N. C. Soundaravalli
N. Ramani's flute cutcheri along with his grandsons Atulkumar and Suresh proved that genes do play a vital role in art. The programme beginning with the Ata Tala varnam "Sarasijanabha" and "Sri Maha Ganapati" in Gowla created a rich, well tuned musical environment. The swaras for the latter by the trio were well organised, but the qualitative difference between the master and the `chelas' was quite palpable. Vanaspati is the vivadi mela that tunefuly drapes the Tyagaraja kriti "Parihasakama" and the song interpretation was unambiguous with the Suddha gandharam firmly rooted in its groove. Mohanam, the perennial charmer, was a cornucopia of radiant colourful phrases initially, but somewhere down the line slightly lost its direction.
Nagai Muralidharan, popular violinist, harmoniously blended the lakshana and lakshya aspects of the raga. Bhairavi wends its way through many classical sancharas in the various sthayis with decorum and seemliness. The alapana on the violin had musical vignettes pertinent to the rich nuances of the raga. "Balagopala" of Dikshitar, a favourite of both performers and rasikas, was played with a silken sheen with the flautists not treading on each other's toes, but putting up a concerted effort of synchronisation. The swaras were played with great assurance by the senior vidvan with the juniors responding positively to his guidance and the violinist contributing with verve and vivacity to embellish the programme with form and content. Tiruvarur Bhaktavatsalam has evolved a laya idiom of his own that reverberates with an invigorating, intelligent rhythm. His percussion interlude with E. M. Subramaniam on the ghatam was a well defined, imposing edifice.
O. S. Thiagarajan's totally sruti aligned facile singing is the right kind of equipment for a musician to capture rasika attention throughout a concert. The Kedaragowla Adi Tala varnam, in robust health, was a sprightly starter followed by "Vallabha nayakasya," Dikshitar's invocatory song on Ganesha laced with swara matrices packed to the hilt with impeccable sarvalaghu rhythm. Tyagaraja's beautiful composition, "Nee daya radha" in Vasanta Bhairavi, with sustained karvais in the Tarasthayi shadjam brimmed with melody. The vidwan was on firm terrain on his Pantuvarali alapana, dotted with many trademark prayogas of the raga perfectly clicked into place.
Delhi Sundararajan developed his raga expansion with refreshing, yet traditional phrases that conformed to rasika expectations "Senapathe palayamam" on Lord Subramanya and the swaras in the Pallavi had the value of accuracy in terms of lyrical clarity and laya efforts respectively. Vardhani, a janya of the 11th mela Kokilapriya, has been liltingly employed in his kriti "Manasa manasamarthya memi" and Thiagarajan's version helped rasikas to get a clear perception of raga bhava. Malayamarutham was burnished with sumptuous madhyama kala phrases, karvais and dhivaita prayogas that were well kept within the periphery of refined taste.
The violinist sincerely toed the path of vocalist. Patnam Subramania Iyer's "Dhanyudevvado," the excellent niraval, especially in the "mel kalam," and the swara sequences had all the necessary requisites in pleasing measure. "Bagayyanaiyya" in Chandrajyoti, a vivadi raga song of Tyagaraja served as an appetiser for the Bilahari feast of raga elaboration, "Smara sadha manasa Balagopalam" a song that is rarely featured in concerts, niraval, swra improvisations in two speeds and the perfectly scripted tani avartanam by B. Harikumar on the mridangam and Coimbatore Mohanram on the ghatam.
Belonging to the illustrious Rudrapatinam tradition of classical music, the Rudrapatnam brothers Ramakanth and Taranath presented a fulfilling concert with Mysore Srikanth (violin), Tumkur Ravishankar (mridangam) and Bangalore Amrit on the ganjira. Kalpanaswaras by the duo for the Asaveri kriti "Maapaala", the Kannada development and the neat version of "Sri Mathrubhutham" of Dikshitar did justice to their proud lineage.
Saveri, one of the most rakti ragas in the Carnatic discipline, was elaborated with a holistic approach to all relevant facets of the melody and synchronising them tastefully. The violinist's essay with compelling musical statements gave a fair indication of his talent and performing abilities. Mysore Sadasiva Rao's "Sri Kamakoti Peetasthithe", the niraval for "Kadhambavana nilaye" and the swaras arranged in attractive sarvalagu patterns, brought the raga swaroopa into praiseworthy focus. "Mohanakara" in the vivadi Mela Neethimathi by Koteeswara Iyer was sung confidently without the bogey of the vivadi swara, shatsriti dhaivatam, not posing any hassles to disturb the fluency of the rendition.
Kambhoji was a systematic expansion while Srikanth's alapana had prayogas draped in melody. The tanam was efficient and was propelled to a logical conclusion. The simple pallavi in Adi Tala, the niraval, usual tri kala exercises and swaras were routine fare. Nattai, Gowla, Arabhi, Varali and Sriragam were the gana ragas featured in the Pallavi.
The tani avartanam peppered with meticulous laya designs right on the spot, was an objective display.
Aesthetic and gripping
Neela Ramgopal, an established carnatic vocalist, sang a Sanskrit sloka in Huseni and Tyagaraja's "Raghuveera Ranadheera" that were invested with aesthetic sensibilities. Oothukkadu's joyful "Maragatha mani maya" in Arabhi, packed with a spirit of gay abandon, targeted the audience instantly. That the singer does not treat a vivadi raga as a Frankenstein monster, was well exemplified in her fluent alapana of Jyotiswaroopini, that received a well conceived response from the violinist Embar Kannan. "Rame Bharata Palitha" of Dikshitar with swara prastharas exuded an air of authority and confidence.
Neela's experience and expertise were well denoted in her Kambhoji delineation that pruned superfluities and focussed on the essential.
The violinist provided quality listening time with his musical instincts always on the alert. "Koniyadi" with its plethora of sangatis and scintillating chittaswaram is a master piece of Veena Kuppaier.
The song rendition, neraval, clear and melodic, the swaras and the kuraippu in the tara sthayi shadjam and the korvai with rhythmic precision were grist to the mill of populist appeal.
A tani avartanam by Mannarkovil J. Balaji on the mridangam and S. Karthick on the ghatam with interesting, arresting laya patterns in the divisions and subdivisions, was a professional display.
Keeravani found the artiste's vocal chords in mint condition, the tanam had gripping, vigorous sequences. The pallavi, neraval, swaras, ragamalika chain in kalyani, sarasangi and sindubhairavi were evidence of the vidushi having successfully wooed the muse.
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