SOLO Umashankar was commendable and adhered to patanthara. P.S. Krishnamurti
H ow much depends on just the composition of a concert was demonstrated by Umashankar in his noon concert at the Music Academy. But for his firm training on proper foundation and commendable performance, Umashankar's concert might go down in memory as a colourless one – partly because of the time of the day and much more as a result of the incongruous concert composition Syama Sastry's (‘Brova Samaya' in raga Chintamani), Jyotiswaroopini raga alapana, elaboration of Madhyamavati raaga, ‘Rama Katha Sudha,' with niraval at ‘Bhama Mani Janaki,' kalpanaswaras, korvais, et al. The concert, which began with ‘Sri Mahaganapatim Bhajeham,' was lively. Despite the rousing Atana raga piece, the slow pace deterred the tempo. Following this up with ‘Devi Brova' did not improve matters.
Muthuswamy Dikshitar's composition ‘Rame Bharata Paalita Raajyam Arpayaami' in Khanda Chapu talam was very well delivered. Both Umashankar and K.J. Dileep did ample justice to this raga, the 68th in the melakarta scale, which can be challenging to the voice and string alike. ‘Bhogindra Saayeenam' of Swati Tirunal in Kuntalavarali added spice with its khanda chapu metre. Regrettably it was followed by Madhyamavati – just the wrong choice for noon time snoozers.
In his ‘Rama Kathaa Sudha' rendition, Umashankar showed commendable taste and patantharam. There were multiple tonal embellishments which were pleasant to listen to. S.R. Ethirajan gave able support on the mridangam.