This year's edition of SICA's annual event was a tribute to youth.
The South Indian Cultural Association (Sica) opened its week-long annual fest with a new generation of singers. So it had to be T.M. Krishna to begin with. The artist seemed determined not to fall into the run-of-the-mill category from the word ‘go'. Right from doing away with the customary kaccheri format (no varnam, no ragam, taanam, no tillana) to improvisations to gesticulations, he had to be different, rather unique . And this exactly turns out to be Krishna's strong point. He proved that an artist can hold his audience in captivity by being ‘refreshingly' individualistic. No, he did not disregard the classicism of Carnatic music. He only moulded it to make a lively, pulsating presentation.
Like many musicians , Krishna seems to be a real artist who warms up only after the first one hour or so. Though he took off to a grand start with Karaharapriya in Adi (chowka) ‘ Chakkani raja margam…' The sangathees, neraval, in full potency notwithstanding, the emotive element was quite lost in the sense, the kriti looked like an exercise in technique. The gimmicks and gamakam remained with the listeners rather than the depth of Thyagaraja's intent. The clarity and tonal richness to a certain extent mitigated the lack of feeling. The same followed for Sriranjani ( Maaru balku…) which opened with a brief alapana . The musical pause and stress on the wrong syllables distorted the meaning in the lines doorabhaara mandu… Wish the artists learn the full impact of Telugu grammar at least as far as the kritis go.
The Dikshitar kriti Sri Sanka chakra gadha paani… In Poornachandrika by virtue of its lyrical grandeur with mitram et al, made the rendition far more lofty than its predecessor. Krishna's mellifluous voice, as he meandered through the mandra reaching to the shadjamam and winding his way through the next two cycles was arresting.
At this point came the breathtaking ‘Brochevaarevuraa…). Shall we say this is the T.M. Krishna baani which makes him a class apart? The chiita swaras were oozing honey as the notes of Kamaas floated through the air.
The Narayana teertha kriti ‘Krishnum kalaya sakhi' followed by a philosophical piece wound up the cherishable recital at Ravindra Bharati. H.N.S. Bhaskar on the violin tried to keep up with the tempo and vivacity of the vocalist .