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Bhajans to a new beat

RANJANI GOVIND
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MUSIC Sreevalsan J. Menon gives devotional songs a new feel

Begane Baro by Sreevalsan J. Menon

Manorama Music, Rs. 100

“B egane Baro -evergreen bhajans” by Sreevalsan J. Menon provides an ‘extra zing' to Carnatic music. The concept of the CD (by K. Mohan Kumar and Sivaram Srikandath) has an informality to it, and includes tabla, keyboard, dholak and sitar. It also has children's chorus, claps mixed with rhythms, soft bansuri and shehnai softly creeping in to blend with “Krishna Nee Begane Baro”, the title track. It not only introduces a new style of rendition, but helps listeners get familiar with rare lyricists. The ragas chosen are soft for a melody-intrinsic exercise as this. “Visweswara” in Sindhubhairavi by Swati Tirunal is a sublime rendering; while Annamacharya's “Garudagamana” in Malkauns soaks in bhakthi. “Madho” in Desh composed by Mavelikkara Prabhakara Varma is interestingly sourced from Gurugranth Sahib. Pandit Bade Ramdasji Misra's (grand-father of Rajan and Sajan Misra) well-known composition “Jai Jai Durge Mata Bhavani” is a lyrical beauty sung melodically in the Carnatic bhajan format. Sreevalsan is competent in retaining the enthusiasm of the Hindustani original, but never loses track of the serenity of the lyrics. Narsi Mehta's “Vaishnava Janatho” has continued to remain the favourite ever since the times of the freedom movement, and now it has even gained a vintage value. It has moved far from the poet's imagination – from being an adi tala kriti to a group song with children singing the chorus (Chetana Music Academy in Thrissur). This Mahatma's favourite has come a long way.

RANJANI GOVIND


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