MUSIC Vasudha Keshav's concert had an aesthetic quality to it
V asudha Keshav sang (Shri Krishna Gana Sabha, Mysore) accompanied by Charulatha Ramanujam (violin), A. Radhesh (mridanga) and V.S. Ramesh (morsing).
General pace was ideal to express relevant emotive moods of the presentations fortified with scholarship. This feature was one of the other pre-requisites that made the concert exemplary. Every level evidenced a firm foundation on which she had built up her repertoire with taste and finesse. Her harmonious and supple voice possessed that gamut which could traverse the sthayis with great ease.
“Sadhinchene” (Arabhi-Thyagaraja), “Chetashri” (Dvijavanti-Dikshithar) and “Bhogindrashaayinam” (Kuntalavarali-Swathi Tirunal) followed in succession carrying with them their appropriate grit and melodic airs. Illustratively the prudent singer treated “Bhogindrashayinam” with dignity (instead of on a war footing): the veera rasa as intended by the composer while visualising the might of the Lord realised fully the desired majestic fervour.
Had the learned artiste abstained herself from referring to notes, Chetashri would have emerged set with pronounced ethereal radiance. The focus of the concert, “Ethavunara” (Kalyani-Thyagaraja), held every audience riveted. She exemplarily elaborated the raga commencing with a slow pace, strengthening the articulation with refined graces and building the picture analytically.
Emphatic sancharas in the taara sthayi, assisted by remarkable fluency gave a meaningful lift to the selected composition (“Ethavunara”) prompting for an intense search for the all- pervading Lord. The meanings consummated into sentiments at the neraval (Anupallavi-“Seetha Gowri”), further embellished by swarakalpana-s.
Raga-taana-pallavi in Saveri (“Paahi Paahi”) had all the merits enumerated above. The imaginative singer framed the kalpanaswaras in Shivaranjani, Behag, Purvikalyani and Hindola. Whereas the violinist's artistry was an integration of subtle movements, fine graces, smooth bowing and felicitous reciprocation, that of the percussionists' was of melody and meaning-oriented beats.
***Sanjay Subrahmanyam sang (Nadabrahma Sangeetha Sabha) with astounding confidence mingled with remarkable wit.
Whereas the lyrical sections stood for clarity and composure, the alapana and particularly the swaraprastara noticeably deviated from the essential emotionalcontent of those compositions.
Of varieties of vocal inflections, some served the purpose of melody and meaning, and some appeared queer. Elements of smoothness and evenness would have imparted intellectual flavour to an otherwise interesting incessantly flowing manodharma.
The way in which the singer juggled with the kalpanaswaras while embellishing “Mahalakshmi Jaganmatha” (Shankarabharana-Papanasam Sivan - the very substance of which is to highlight the grandeur of the Mother Goddess) favoured haasya in place of Bhakthi.
Though Shankarabharana potentially accommodates navarasa-s, surely the composer's intention in the composition under consideration is far from bringing into it any lighter touch: and as such, any move blighting its sublimity is beyond reasonable permissibility.
“Re Re Maanasa” (Naata - Chengalvaraya Shastri), “Nikeppudu” (Abhogi - Mysore Sadashivarayaru) and “Saragunapalimpa” (Kedaragoula - Ramnad Shrinivasa Iyengar) more or less followed the same trend.
“Entha Ni” (Mukhari - Thyagaraja), “Maayamma” (Aahiri - Shyama Shastri), “Govardhana” (Darbari -Narayana Thirtha), “Sharavanabhava” (Shanmukhapriya-Papanasam Sivan) were pleasing and contemplative in proportion with the singer's exposure and experience.
Mysore M. Nagaraj (violin-closely followed the lead artiste in melodic aspects), Arjun Kumar (mridanga-in many areas sounded like dholak) and Amruth (khanjira) accompanied the singer.