S. SIVAKUMAR

The genius of Vasudevachar and the range of Gowla ragas came across with vividness as Prarthana Rao and Ranjani Hebbar sang.

Youngsters look at the world of Carnatic music differently, and this was evident at Mudhra's thematic concerts. The subjects were wide-ranging the Trinity, Mysore Vasudevachar, Purandara Dasa, Women Trinity, Sivan, Raga Variants (Gowla), Single Raga (Thodi), and Ragam Thanam Pallavi.Prarthana Rao came up with the compositions of Mysore Vasudevachar. This youngster has had the privilege of learning from Mani Krishnaswami, who learnt a number of Vasudevachar's compositions directly from him.The songs were of all forms and dimensions and showed that Vasudevachar had categorised kritis that could by themselves be material enough for a complete concert. The opening kriti in Hamsadhwani (`Vandhenisamaham') had a buoyant chittaswaram, rendered with fitting liveliness and was followed by a Mayamalavagowla song (`Kalinarulaku Nee Mahima'). Prarthana's voice, as she began, had an initial hesitancy that took a while to settle down. Natakapriya (`Ithi Samayamu') and Purvikalyani (`Marachithivemo Nannu Maravakura') alapanas were groundswells of imagination.Natakapriya was couched in phrases of clarity, without any sense of equivocation. A fine piece, `Pranamamyaham' (Ranjani) and a tillana in Suratti filled the fare. Ananthapadmanabha on the violin was able to give an alapana of Natakapriya with efficiency and his accompanying style was of an observant nature. Thillaisthanam Suryanarayanan on the mridangam had a distinct style reflecting his fine lineage.

Auspicious start

Dealing with Gowla ragas, Ranjani Hebbar began auspiciously with a Vinayaka Stuti in Gowla and teamed it up with a varnam in Narayana Gowla (Veenai Kuppaiyer - Ata talam). In attempting an alapana for Kannada Gowla (`Orajoopu Joochedhi' - Tyagaraja), Ranjani showed that she has made great strides in music. The alapana had singular phrases to present the raga with a complete sense of coherency. It is said that Patnam Subramania Iyer had accepted a challenge and sung an alapana of Kannada Gowla for more than two hours in the Mysore Durbar. Ranjani's effort continued ceaselessly during her alapana for Ritigowla (`Janani' - Subbaraya Sastri) and swara singing was never a mere mind sport but had the raga lakshana found unfailingly etched everywhere. `Mayatheetha Swaroopini' (Mayamalavagowla - Ponniah Pillai) and `Thanu Ninnadhu' (Kedaragowla - Kanakadasa) were sung to complete the Gowla range and cover all composers. Karthik on the violin played a delectable Ritigowla and Kannadagowla and his swara-answering showed an astute mind.Srivatsan on the mridangam, schooled well in anticipatory playing, developed a thani of exemplary quality.