Tradition and innovation found the right balance in the veena recital of B. Kannan.
The veena recital by B. Kannan at the Ramanavami celebrations at Lalitha Niwas, Coimbatore, offered a combination of chaste tradition and pleasing innovation. While the raga delineations were strictly traditional, the `sangatis' added the modern glow. The popular kriti of Tyagaraja in Hamsanadham "Bantu Reethi Koluviyavayya Rama" dazzled differently with the Namasankeertana played at the end. The first `panchadhi' (stanza) of the Taitreeya Upanishad, `Om, Shamno Mitrah Sham Varunah' was beautifully incorporated into the moving song "Venkatagirinatha Sharanam" by Shuddha Satvanandha. "Raghuvamsa Sudhambudhi Chandra'' in Kadhana Kuthuhalam made one wonder whether this song was composed specially for the veena. The absolute control Kannan had over the instrument during `vilamba' and `duritha' prayogas resulted in total harmony.
From the very first Nattakurinji varnam to mangalam, there was a continuous flow of high quality music. When Kannan caressed the chords, it was simply aural pleasure that filled the heart with divine peace. Karuna rasa dominated the choice of the songs."Bantureethi" (Hamsanadham), "Apparama Bhakti'' (Pantuvarali) and "Baagayanayya'' (Chandrajyothi) were among the Tyagaraja compositions. "Pranamamyaham'' in Gowlai (Mysore Vasudevachar) and "Janani Ninnuvina'' in Ritigowlai (Subbaraya Sastri) were served with great mastery. The RTP was in Hemavathi. The delicate grace of the raga unfolded gradually and the pallavi ``Janaki Ramana Kalyana Rama," was appropriate for the occasion. The sparkling mridangam by Nellai Balaji and the spirited ghatam by N. Guruprasad added to the charm and the happy, smiling trio made it a memorable evening.
Papanasam Ashok Ramani's vocal concert created a mixed impact. While there was no dearth of gnanam or imagination, his voice gave him a lot of trouble. As a result the pleasure of listening to a pleasing alapana or an impressive neraval, was marred by a discordant note caused by a recalcitrant voice. M. A. Sundareswaran on the violin more than compensated with his powerful, yet tender presentation. Most of the kritis presented that day were by Tyagaraja. Harikamboji ("Dhinamani Vamsa") and Nasikabhushani ("Maaravairi Ramani") were portrayed with good depth. Sankarabharanam as the centre piece was majestic followed by "Swararaga Sudha Rasa.'' "Bhajanai Sei Maname,'' "Sri Rama Nama'' and ``Sri Janakipathe'' were rendered with devotion. The recital sprinkled with popular songs such as ``Maname Kanamum Maravaadhe,'' ``Jagadodharana,'' ``Deena Karunaakarane,'' and ``Naraharivesha Naaraayanane'' ended with a tillana. Thanjavur Murugabhoopati gave excellent support on the mridangam.