Music Instruments vied to outdo one another in S. Karthick's ‘Samskruty'.
It was more a lec-dem than a recital per se. S. Karthick's ‘Samskruty' ensemble was more of an infotainment. For those who gathered there to listen to Karthick, heard more of him on the vocal side than on the ghatam! Either he was determined to showcase his oratory skills and the tone and tenor of his voice or he was dampened by the thin attendance to his concert at Ravindra Bharathi. Whatever be the reason, the audience were treated to anything but the ghatam play. Every piece he chose to present was preceded by a preface which meandered into related or unrelated topics and was followed by a demonstration by all others but him. Definitely, the SICA loyalists deserved more than this!
However, the present generation got a lot of inputs in the form of music general knowledge. Like for instance, he gave a broad view of the 72 melakarta ragas corresponding to 72 beats of the heart. It seemed that the percussionist had this penchant to revert to orthodox kucheris of the past. He launched into the konnakkal which was the recitation of mnemonic syllables and was considered more important than a mridangam performance in the good old days. He named it ‘Vaayjaalam', a vocal percussion structured somewhat differently in the second kalam. This was perhaps the best round as the strokes from the kanjira (K.V.Gopalakrishnan) , the morsing (Raman), the tabla (N. Sundar) and the mridangam (Raveendran) not to mention the special effects by Rajagopalan. And the sharpness, clarity and smoothness of the play of syllables were something to marvel. The pace quickened creating an illusion of a fiery contest between all of them.
He delved into the Omkara naadam before singing the sloka to guru composed by him. The morsing's twang prior to the verse followed by a single powerful beat of the two percussions (tabla and mridangam) gave a lasting effect to the omkara and every verse was punctuated by the tinkle of a bell. As Karthick went through the chant in his compelling tone, the mantras got the needed impetus with one of the instruments providing the naadam. One cannot ask for more clarity in the notation as Raveendran produced on his mridangam. The Tiruphzugal verses in Misra chapu were beautifully pious as he spelt out the konnakkal; the Saibaba bhajan in English ‘Why fear when I am here...' was superb. The only snag was that we had less of Karthick the ghatam maestro and more of a vocalist Karthick! The recital was staged at Ravindra Bharathi under the aegis of Sica annual dance and music fest.