The annual Dakshinayan festival was a big hit.
The annual Dakshinayan festival, which features top-grade Carnatic musicians in concerts across the country, came to Delhi this past week with an evening that delighted Delhi's music fans. Featured were two of Carnatic music's most popular performers — T.V. Sankaranarayanan and Kadri Gopalnath. Unlike the past, when the turnout was disappointingly low for an otherwise aesthetically designed festival, this year the audience was of healthy proportions.
If the India Habitat Centre's Stein auditorium resounded to the spirited rendition of veteran vocalist Sankaranarayanan and his supporting vocalists (Amruta his daughter and Mahadevan his son), it was ready to doff its roof when it was the turn of ‘Saxophone Chakravarti' Gopalnath. The amplification process set some mikes howling irritatingly, but that settled down after a while.
Sankaranarayanan seemed in fine spirits. His voice soared to the upper octaves as he picked up popular kriti after popular kriti — Papanasam Sivan's “Ka Va Va” in Varali raga, “Sitapate” in Khamas, Sarasamukhi in Gouda Malhar and the “Western Note” were among them — until the organisers stepped in to present flowers and thank him. They couldn't be blamed, since the second concert had to go on, but the veteran had the last word, deciding to sing one last round of vrittam so the concert wouldn't “end abruptly”. He was accompanied by Nagai R. Sriram on the violin and Neyveli Skanda Subramanian on the mridangam.
Sometimes Sankaranarayanan's flights have an exalted feel, when he carries listeners with him to a plane above the mundane. This evening, though, the concert had a light-hearted sort of aura, as if he was thoroughly enjoying the opportunity of singing with his children.
It was just as well the first concert had a light feel, since Kadri Gopalnath then took the evening further on those cheerful lines. With the resonant tones of the saxophone and the electrified violin (A. Kanyakumari), the volume went up many times. Kadri, resplendent in a crimson kurta, was every inch the king, his regal manner matching the martial tones of his instrument.
The cross rhythms and repartees between Kadri, Kanyakumari and the percussionists, V. Praveen Kumar on the mridangam and B. Rajashekharan on the morsing, made for a rousing affair.A.R.