REVIEW The Malladi Brothers and M.S. Sheela’s performance was replete with tender nuances
The 13th Annual Music Festival of Hamsadhwani Creations, Bangalore, headed by vocalist M.S. Sheela, was held recently and included a series of performances, lecture demonstrations and concerts spread over three days. The Hamsadhwani Puraskara was awarded to veteran vocalist Seethalaksmi Venkatesan and well-known percussionist M.A. Krishnamurthy.
The second day of the Festival featured a vocal concert by Malladi Brothers, Sreeramprasad and Ravi Kumar, accompanied by H.K. Venkatram (violin), Tumkur B. Ravishankar (mridanga) and N. Amruth (kanjira). The Annamacharya composition “Purushothamuda Veevu”, set to a haunting Revagupthi, was suffixed with a few kalpanaswaras and followed by a soulful sketch of Shahana. “Ee Vasudha” in adi tala was the first of the five Kovur Pancharatna krithis of Thyagaraja rendered in the concert. Dikshithar’s “Manasa Gruruguha” in Anandabhairavi led to a compact exposition of Kalyani, systematic in its development, yet replete with individual touches and tender nuances. Plain usages of notes such as the gandhara and nishada were set off against traditional gamaka oriented phrases. “Nammivachina” of the Kovur group, set to rupaka tala was adorned with a short neraval and kalpana swaras at “Nadarupa Srisoundaryanayakipathe”, incorporating alluring melodic and rhythmic patterns.
“Kori Sevimparare” in Kharaharapriya raga and adi thala, also of the Kovur series, and Mysore Sadashiva Rao’s “Ninnuvina Gathi” in Balahamsa followed in quick succession. “Shambho Mahadeva” in Panthuvarali prefaced an expansive exposition of Shankarabharanam and the krithi “Sundareswaruni” in adi tala, completing the quintet of the Kovur compositions. While the inclusion of all five krithis in a single concert is in itself a rarity, the performance was also marked by erudition clothed in grace, clarity in articulation of sahithya and reverence for tradition, augmented by outstanding support from the accompanying artistes.
“Jagadeeshwara Pahimam”, a special musical feature comprising compositions in praise of Lord Shiva, was the final presentation on the last day of the Festival. Led by M.S. Sheela and accompanying artistes Charulatha Ramanujam (violin) and Anoor Ananthakrishna Sharma (mridanga), an array of accomplished young instrumentalists including Vinod Shyam, Sunaad Anoor, Puneet, Subramanya Shastri B.R., Gopi Shravan, Nagendra Prasad, Sudatta and Chidananda provided support.
Beginning with an invocatory shloka, the lead artiste rendered “Eesha Pahimam”, the Thyagaraja krithi set to Kalyani raga and rupaka tala, supplemented with some fluid and spontaneous kalpana swaras. A lilting “Nadathanumanisham” in Chittaranjani raga and adi tala, also a Thyagaraja krithi, followed.
Poorvikalyani was taken up for an alapana of moderate length, suffused with lyrical beauty and studded with lustrous brigas, exemplifying the felicity of expression, richness and clarity of voice and improvisational prowess of the artiste. “Gangadhara Tripurahara”, Mysore Sadashiva Rao’s composition set to rupaka tala, which was supplemented with a short, but captivating neraval at “Ahibhushana Amaravana”. Kalpana swaras in the second speed ended with diminishing tala cycles at the gandhara, with superb support from the accompanying artistes.
The ensuing group rendition by disciples of the lead artiste included devotional and folk elements in “Shankar Kare Damaru Baje” and “Adubetta Idubettavo”. The thillana in Sumanesaranjini, which saw all artistes joining in, provided a rousing finale to the festival.