MUSIC A gifted voice and intense involvement marked Saketha Raman's rendition
S hruthimanjari Foundation conducted its 13th annual five-day music festival in collaboration with Rotary Club of Mysore, West. Young Saketha Raman's vocal concert was the inaugural show. The singer charged the compositions with emotional fervour; yet for want of smoothness, they failed to fall gently on the ears for a wholehearted approval. Voice finely merged with the shruthi in faster paces and in nilugades, yet in slower sancharas betrayed unsteadiness. Accentuations were perfect and clear but the modulations were inadequate.
Remarkable sadhana of the singer, endowed with a good voice and gifted with the rare faculty of intense involvement could not find proper expressions for want of refinement and smoothness, and may be a method too. For example: alapana in Purvikalyani and the body of the composition “Jnanamosagarada” (Thyagaraja) rose to the expectation; a neraval at “Paripurna Nishkalanka” lagged behind in conveying its sentimental core; and swaraprastara did not complement the lyrical significance: for this reason, he could not materialise uniformity in mood between different components of the presentation.
Excessive articulation in higher octaves while he was expatiating Mohana (Thyagaraja's “Maatimaatiki”) could not serve any melodic purpose other than straining the voice. He expanded the anupallavi (“Mangalakara Rupa”) appending it with elaborate swarakalpana.
Whereas, Vittal Rama Murthy (violin) maintained balance in his approach, Melakkavery Balaji (mridanga) exceeded permissible enthusiasm indulging in more-than-necessary special effects.
“Chalamu Seya” (Varna -Valaji - Lalgudi Jayaraman), “Guruleka Etuvanti” (Gourimanohari – Thyagaraja), Rama Rama (Purandaradasa) were other interesting numbers.
******On the concluding day veteran, T. Shrinivas mesmerised the audience: indeed, it was a fine and imaginative blend of melody and rhythm, both finding rich expressions through his thoroughly groomed ideas evolving into incessant extempore.
As the learned singer laid due emphasis on the essence and meanings impregnated in the lyrics, the modulations spontaneously effected the expected intonations, and right accentuations made it a delight to hear those lyrics.
It was in such a background that the listeners enjoyed compositions like “O Jagadhamba” (Anandabhairavi-Shyamashastri), “Bageyanayya” (Chandrajyothi-Thyagaraja) and “Ranganathude” (Sowrashtra-Ponnayya Pillai). Shrinivas analytically interpreted Chandrajyothi. He artistically selected small phrases and explored them minutely before gradually expanding his artistry to encompass the swara phrases of greater length and magnitude.
A nade pallavi, “Nanda Nandana Sundaravadana” (Rithigoula) was the focus of the concert. In spite of the intricate rhythm patterns, the melodic flow was remarkably smooth, harmonising with the devotional element the lyrics stood for. Swaraprastara was in ragamalika: Gowla, Kedaragoula, Mayamalavagoula and so on.
However, there were very frequent unacceptable instances of falling out of alignment with the swarasthanas, which he could have avoided, had he followed a simple path, instead of resorting to unnecessary labyrinthine passages and bounding movements.
Controlled melody support by Veena Suresh (violin), and the rhythm support by Tumkur B. Ravishankar (mridanga) and B. Shashishankar (ghata) were one of the rare occurrences, which can remain indelible in the mind for long.
R.N. Doreswamy's “Vanajakshi Ninne Kori” (varna-Rithigoula), Dikshitar's “Siddhi Vinayakam” (Shanmukhapriya) and Purandaradasa's “Summane Durakuvude Shriramana”, “Kande Kande Swamiya” were some of the other highlights.