Round-up Carnatic music fans had a treat in the past few weeks with plenty of options. VENKATESAN SRIKANTH
When it rains, sometimes it pours. It poured Carnatic music recently in the Capital. At least four different music festivals took place around the same time. Banyan Tree's was a one-day event titled “Dakshinayan – a treat of Carnatic music” with two concerts by the popular Chennai-based Nithyashree Mahadevan (vocal) and Ganesh-Kumaresh (violin duo). In the Sangeet Natak Akademi's seven-day festival, awardees of the Akadami's Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar 2010 were featured in concerts. At the India International Centre it was Gayathri Fine Arts' two-day music festival, which also included a concert of Kavasssery R. Chidambaram in memory of the legendary late Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer. At the end of this concert prizes were distributed to winners of the music competitions organised earlier by the organisation. T.M. Krishna and Bombay Jayashri were featured in two different concerts. And Sree Shanmukhananda Sangeetha Sabha celebrated a Thyagaraja Music Festival spread over four days with six concerts in all, featuring popular artistes like the Malladi Brothers, the duo of Ranjani and Gayathri, Abishek Raghuram and Pantula Rama. The Sabha also gave its Nada Kalanidhi award to veteran vocalist P.S. Narayanaswamy, Nada Bhushanum to vocalist Vijayalakshmi Subramanian and Natya Ratna to Mohiniyattam dancer Gopika Varma.
It almost felt like Chennai in December. It may not have been on such a scale, but music lovers were faced with the exciting dilemma of choosing between popular artistes from Chennai known for their depth performing simultaneously at different venues. However, exam season dampened, to some extent, the spirits of the music learning children and many a parent. The Malladi Brothers, Sreeram Prasad and Ravikumar, took up, predominantly, Tyagaraja's compositions in their concert. They also chose traditional ragas like Todi, Harikamboji, Kedaragowla, Kalyani and Huseni. To the utter delight listeners, the brothers showcased the rich traditional music they have imbibed. Starting their concert with Tyagaraja's “Sriganapatini” in raga Saurashtra, the brothers took up Tyagaraja's “Oka mata oka banamu” in Harikamboji, Vanamamalai Jeeyar's “Mathim dehi” in the raga Kalyani and Tyagaraja's “Tulasibilva” in raga Kedaragowla for detailed rendition.
While Ravikumar presented excellent alapanas of Harikamboji and Kedaragowla, Sreeram Prasad delineated Kalyani bringing its features to the fore. Subsequent neraval and swaraprastaras spoke highly of their depth in creative music. While Vittal Ramamurthy on the violin and Neyveli S. Skanda Subramanian on the mridangam provided excellent support, N. Shankar on the kanjira did not quite rise to the occasion.
Nithyashree Mahadevan too delighted the audience during her brief recital. She took up Tyagaraja's “Manasuloni” in the raga Varamu (which differs from the raga Hindolam as it takes Chathusruti Dhaivata, whereas Hindolam takes Shuddha Dhaivata) and Muthuswami Dikshitar's “Meenakshi memudam” in raga Poorvi Kalyani for detailed rendition. Delhi's VSK Chakrapani on the violin, K.N. Padmanabhan on the mridangam and Mannai N. Kannan on the ghatam provided good support.