MUSIC Gayatri Venkataraghavan’s imagination was exceptional and young artistes proved their commitment to their art at the Sangeetha Parishat’s festival in Mangalore

Gargi N. Shabaraya sang under the patronage of Sangeetha Parishat, Mangalore, accompanied by Sanal Kumar (violin) and Balachandra Bhagavat (mridanga).

Young singer’s voice is resilient, and the inflections are capable of infusing the desired moods into the numbers. Nevertheless, an overview revealed that slower tempos have favoured her style than the faster ones (with tendencies of losing balance).

In “Neela Megha Shyama” (Rithigoula - Pavanje Lakshminarnappa), her style and the voice emerged convincingly to impress the audience. The general tempo (creating a melodic ambience), ideal approach to the style of expatiating the raga (methodically drawn) and right accentuations (at right places realising the import of the lyrics) rendered the number absorbing.

Narration should have been slower keeping in view the devotional magnitude of the composition, “Shambho Mahadeva” (Kamavardhini - Thyagaraja). Apt stresses on nishada, gandhara and madhyama was not sufficient to infuse necessary sentiments into the lyrics and to extract the desired mood of the raga. Swarakalpana too did not complement the general melodic and devotional import.

The concert included Pachimiriam Adiappayya’s varna (“Viriboni” - Bhairavi), “Sakamasa” (Abhang), Tillana (Faraz) and so on.

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Shruti Sagar’s flute recital was the prime show of the evening. Sampath Kumar (violin), Anil Kumar (mridanga) and Harihara Subrahmaniam (ghata) accompanied the young flautist.

Amazing mastery over the instrument created wondrous atmosphere on the following grounds: rare faculty of precisely aligning with the shruti irrespective of different speeds, remarkable control over the laya, refined blowing that maintains purity of notes and subtleties of the graces, and astounding fluidity in articulations that can assume any tuneful form his artistic imaginations intuitively demands.

Set with the above merits, the artiste presented compositions like “Rama Nipai Tanaku” (Kedara - Thyagaraja), “Padavi Ni” (Salagabhairavi — Thyagaraja), “Maayamma Anine” (Ahiri - Shyamashastri) and “Sabhapatikku” (Abhogi - Gopalakrishna Bharathi - could have been slower), “Kadaikkan Vaittennai” (Begade - Vaiccheri Ramaswamy Shivan - analytical and exemplary expatiation of the raga) and “Vanchatonu” (Karnaranjani – Muthaiah Bhagavathar - contemplative).

Focus of the concert, raga (Panthuvarali) - taana - pallavi (“Mukhane Vaa Shanmughane Vaa Arumughane Vaa”) embodied volley of bravura mirroring the young artiste’s virtuosity. Especially, his mastery over the laya in the swarakalpana sections was exciting and enthralling.

Another face of the coin: For a listener who perceives the art form in the light of the vaggeyakaras who have poured into their works subliminal essence of devotion and submission, the concert as it progressed proved to be a mathematical monotony.

The skilled artiste, armed with exceptional legion of repertoire, could have ideally made his concert absorbing than engaging and soothing than thrilling.

***On the third day, Gayatri Venkataraghavan sang in her silvery tone. One of the exceptional merits was the gamut of her voice that spanned the sthayis with admirable felicity invariably retaining its timbre; and this was in addition to a tastefully honed panache. The chords would modulate to materialise her artistic imaginations to sublimate the themes of the compositions under consideration. The method of articulations would explore the quintessence of the ragas under interpretation, and exhaustively cream off the emotive elements ingrained in the lyrics.

Incessantly flowing extempore mesmerised the audience by creating a sublime aura ; and her intense involvement and commitment scintillated the mind commanding wholehearted and unreserved admiration.

“Jagadananda Karaka” (Naata — Thyagaraja – presented more in the fashion of a vigorous varna than a pleasing kriti) gave a sprightly impetus to the concert that evolved to comprise compositions like “Gajamukhane Vandisuve Karunisi” (Mayamalavagoula —Vadirajaru), “Bhajanaseyarada” (Dharmavati – Mysore Vasudevacharya — majestic and absorbing), “Akhilandeshwari” (Dhvijavanti - Dikshithar - simply grand) and “Seethamma Maayamma” (Vasantha - Thyagaraja - could have been slower for a pleasing impact).

“Bhajanaseyarada” received every attention the competent singer could bestow on the sections of alapana, neraval (charana – “Niravadhisukhadayakuni Paramatmuni”) and swarakalpana. Both the melody (Mysore V. Shrikanth - violin) and the rhythm accompanists (Mannarkoil Balaji - mridanga) displayed their propriety and spontaneity in creating a serene ambience.

Alapana in Kamboji (“Kailasanathena” - Dikshithar) conforming to the traditional style of evolvement (Ragavardhini) finely carved the musical personality of the raga. The lyrical import reached its peak in the neraval section (“Kailasagiri Viharena”) finding a tuneful consummation in the swarakalpana section; melodic and terse tani avarthana followed.

Another highlight of the concert was raga (Amrithavarshini and Anandabhairavi) - taana - pallavi (“Paramananda Amrithavarshini Parameshwara Anandabhairavi”).

V. Nagaraj