Music Young musicians impressed with their erudition, spontaneity and creativity during a music festival in Edappally. Harish Bal

Talented young Carnatic musicians and veterans assembled for an annual music festival in Edappally, Kochi. Abhishek Raghuram, a formidable name among young vocalists, proved his mettle, yet again, with his spontaneity and creativity. He did justice to the Kedaram number ‘Tyagaraja gurumashraye’ of M.D. Ramanathan and supplemented it with a neat rendition of Begada raga. The niraval for the kriti ‘Nadopasana’ showcased Abhishek’s ingenuity in improvisation. His rendition of ‘Edayya Gati’, a composition of Koteeswara Iyer in Chalanatta, appealed to one and all. In a detailed ragam tanam pallavi in raga Poorvikalyani, he explored variety in patterns in sancharas of the raga. The rich timbre in the middle and lower registers was noteworthy. As he elaborated the Pallavi, choosing the line ‘Madhurapuri nilaye’ from a Dikshitar composition, he came up with ragamalika phrases and swaras in ragas Neelambari, Valaji, Manji, Kamas and Kalyani. While Sampath accompanied on the violin, Ananthakrishnan and Vazhapilly Krishnankumar played the mridangam and the ghatam, respectively.

Amrutha Venkatesh had some of the best percussionists in Kerala accompanying her during her concert that showcased her ‘vidwat’. She set the mood for the concert with a Saveri varnam and ‘Rakshamam’ in Gambheera Natta. In Syamasastri’s Anandabhairavi composition ‘Marivere’, she gave her own embellishments to the fixed sangatis in her resonant voice; this feature is a particular characteristic of Amrutha’s style. The swaras for ‘Sarasaksha paripalaya’ in Pantuvarali were unique and exquisite in their appeal. Precision and novelty were the hallmark of Amrutha’s Mohanam raga exposition. In well-chiselled phrases, she built the raga edifice. Never once did she play to the gallery, yet she had the audience loving every bit of ‘Nannupalimpa’. The good enunciation of the lyrics heightened the beauty of the composition.

Palakkad Mahesh Kumar, a somewhat aggressive mridangam player, toned down his style to suit the mellow style of the vocalist. Interestingly, he played unique tones and almost replicated the tone and style of the thavil and the ganjira during the taniavarthanam. Swaras in the first speed spoke of the expanse of the vocalist’s manodharma.

Amrutha does not tread the regular path of other female vocalists and has an almost androgynous approach to improvisation. Keeping with the modern practice of taking up even Hindustani ragas for pallavi, Amrutha chose Sindhubhairavi. She ventured to a tanam in other ragas such as Sahana and Kamboji. Avaneeswaram Vinu and Perukavu Sudheer accompanied on the violin and the ghatam, respectively.

Sikkil Gurucharan’s euphonious voice imparted bhava into the ragas and compositions on the third day of the fete. He brilliantly transmitted the doleful feel in ‘Manavyalakim’ in Nalinakanthi. The alapana of Saveri was neat with clear sangatis and sancharas, the gamakas etched beautifully. The swaras were engaging and crisp.

This was followed by a highly sophisticated taniavarthanam by Cherthala Krishna Kumar, which was full of variety, vigour and meticulous detailing. He was supported by Kannan on the ghatam. For ragam tanam pallavi, Gurucharan chose the first line of the Swati composition ‘Paripalayamam’. On the violin, Edappally Ajith could follow up befittingly the complex patterns the vocalist wove for the pallavi. He suffused swaras in Kedaram and Gowla to culminate in passages in Kedaragowla. The tukkadas – ‘Parulanamatta’, the javali in Kapi and ‘Srinivasa Tiruvenkata’ in Hamsanandi – went down well with the audience.

Senior violinist M. Chandrasekharan and his daughter G. Bharati gave a taste of pleasing traditional music. The elaboration of Bilahari and the composition ‘Sribalasubrahmanya’ were delectably presented. Guruvayoor Sanoj and Gopalakrishnan accompanied on the mridangam and the ghatam, respectively. The father-daughter duo presented ‘Anathudanu ganu’ in Jingala and ‘Bhagayanayya’ in Chandrajyoti. While Chandrasekharan wove enticing phrases of Madhayamavi, he also sang the composition ‘Palintsu Kamakshi’ as he played it on the violin. The duo gave expression to the melodic ragas Kathanakuthoohalam, Madhuvanti and Basant. They wound up their act with ‘Chinnanchirukiliye’, a ragamalika and ‘Aliveni enthu cheyvu’ in Chenchurutti.

The fete was organised in connection with the annual music festival of the Edappally Sangeeta Sadas.