MUSIC Rajkamal's performance was remarkable for his improvisational powers

MES Kalavedi, Bangalore, recently presented a flute recital by N. Rajkamal, accompanied by Srinidhi R. Mathur (violin), B.K. Chandramouli (mridanga), S.N. Narayana Murthy (ghata), and Dr. Vellore A.R. Srinivasan (morsing), comprising the Goda Ramkumar and C.M. Ramkumar Endowment Programme.

The concert began with the perennial favourite “Deva Deva Kalayami”, Swathi Thirunal's composition set to Mayamalavagoula raga and rupaka tala. Rendered in a bracing tempo, the krithi was embellished with a spate of kalpana swaras at the charanam line beginning “Jatharupa Nibha Chela”. Several rounds of diminishing tala cycles at the panchama, built around a distinct melodic and rhythmic motif, testified to considerable laya skill and control. Hindolam was taken up for a fairly detailed alapana that began with soft, unhurried phrases illumining the plaintive appeal of the raga. An exceptionally elongated tara shadja and extended treatment of swaras around it, a slow ascent to the gandhara and madhyama, and a protracted stint in the mandra sthayi during the descent, displaying remarkable dexterity and improvisational powers, were notable features of the exercise. Thyagaraja's “Manasuloni Marmamulu” in adi tala was supplemented with a few avarthanas of kalpana swaras which also included some centred on the madhyama.

“Atukaradani”, the Thyagaraja composition in the vivadi raga Manoranjani and adi tala provided a vivid contrast to the previous item and led to the main raga of the evening, Kalyani. The lilt and beauty of the raga unfurled spontaneously, yet methodically in the compact alapana, exploiting the scope of the instrument effectively. The Thyagaraja masterpiece “Ethavunara” in adi tala was presented in an attractive tempo that emphasised the unique blend of sweetness and majesty inherent in the piece. A neraval at some stage, however, given the gravity of the krithi and the raga and the positioning of the item in the concert, would have further enriched the effort. While the kalpana swaras in the first speed at “Bhukamalarka”, the beginning of the charanam, were comparatively brief, those in the second speed were fluent and melodious and included a final focus on the gandhara accentuated with varied rhythmic patterns and culminating in a succinct tani avarthana. Outstanding support from the violinist, who excelled in his solo manodharma segments and in his timely responses within the lead artiste's mandate, was one of the highlights of the performance. The array of expert percussionists lent vibrancy and colour to the performance with diverse tones and multiple rhythms and reinforced the overall impact with superb co-ordination.

Madhavi Ramkumar