Music Malladi Brothers captivated audience with rare compositions.
When Malladi Brothers (Sriram Prasad and Ravikumar) take the stage, one expects perfect classicism. And if their accompanists are on an equal footing like Embar Kannan on violin, MLN Raju on the mridangam, and Srinivasa Gopalan on the morsing, then there is no stopping them. Naturally, the venue was bursting at its seams with enthusiastic listeners of all ages.
The pada varnam ( Chelamela jesevu ra ) in Natakurinji was an aesthetic opening statement that marked a three-hour dynamic recital. The duo is versatile, coming up with rare ragas and the rarest of kritis which can still keep listeners glued to their seats in rapt attention. They educate without being didactic and in their case entertainment is through experiencing the joy of profound music. Parameswara, Jagadeeswara in Nata, a ragam that traditionally marks the beginning of a kucheri with its intense swarakalpana gave way to Nitya Rupa Evari Pandityam Emi Nadachura ? in Durbaar was replete with meaningful sangathis. The artistry in improvisations with the stress on the Rishabam along with the Gaandharam and the dual syllabic (janta swara) usage brought out the essence of the raga. The violin reflected these dignified phrases most adroitly. A slightly fast-track kriti in Eesha Manohari O Manasa Sri Ramachandruni Maravake … sounded a little hurried, going by the content of the kriti, despite the impressive handling of the sangathis and alternating alapana between the brothers where they made an impact as they touched the sub-tones throwing up a wave of subtle nuances underlying the raga. Embar Kannan’s inimitable style further enriched the raga.
The Hamsanadam drifted across gracefully with one of Annamacharya gems Telisithe Mokshamu, Teliyakunte Bandhamu where they took up an inspiring neraval at Sri Venkateswarudu chitta mu lo nunna vaadu laying the emphasis on the esoteric connotation of this kirtana. In the Yagapriya/ Kalavati we had a glimpse of the duo’s melodic moments with their akaaram. The centrepiece Kambhoji opened with an elaborate alapana that expounded the raga in its alluring charm with the violin mirroring without losing sight of the intricate nuances. We dropped down to the earth with Lalgudi Pancharatnam’s Mahitha pravitha… which despite extensive neravalfell flat on our ears.
We got back our mood with their dexterous swarakalpana which gave way to taniavarthanam. The morsing gave its version while MLN Raju treated us to a captivating percussion play. Abhaya Dayakude in another rare raga, Lalith, was lilting.
The recital was part of the Sharada Cultural Trust festival at Keyes High School.