A veena recital that stuck to the traditional without becoming grand.
The veena concert of Padma Ramakrishnan under the aegis of Kalasagaram last week was a welcome change after a long time. For more than one reason veena players are dwindling and the learners are fewer; the gurus are fewer. And to listen to a good concert of veena is a fortune. Padma Ramakrishnan hails from a good parampara and hence one can expect chaste music in her playing; indeed it was so. She can produce good nada and confines to tradition. The kalaparamanam of the songs she selected were precise and the variety commendable. The krithis are well choreographed and the pre-set time interval in the sangathis is well maintained. When it comes to alapana however, the nada takes a beating. Also, it would be advisable to add a pleasant interval between sangathis so that the listener can relish each of them so presented. Yet another suggestion would be to include varieties in nadaies (multiples in rhythm) in the holistic complex. The persistence of Chthusra Nadai in the entire program did drive to a point of boredom and under the circumstances; the percussion player could not contribute much to enhance the grandeur of the concert.
The concert started with the famous Bhairavi Varnam in ata tala and was followed by vallbhanayakasya in begada. The kalapramanam for the krithis was ideal and conveyed the bhava well. Similarly the krithi thelisirama in poorna chandrilka had a dignified march unlike the contemporary way of unholy speed that is so prevalent. Garudagamana in nagaswaravali, annapoorne visalakhsi in sama were impressive. Kalayani was taken up for elaboration that was accompanied by thanam and the krithis ninnuvana. The concert came to a close with attractive tailenders including a javali.
Padma was ably assisted on the veena by Vidya Ramaraj, whose contribution was very helpful. Vidya Sagar played the mridangam; his input was rather limited and essentially mechanical. One cannot help in a situation where there is not enough opportunity and scope for innovation. In short it was a reasonably good concert that could give adequate pleasure to the common listener.