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Whistling in the new year

P. SRINIVASA GOPALAN
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Concert Shivaprasad's whistle concert on January 1 was marked by rich sound. P. SRINIVASA GOPALAN

Music with a twist Komaravalli Sivaprasad.
Music with a twist Komaravalli Sivaprasad.

V iswasai, a cultural organisation formed in 1997, has consistently been conducting whistle wizard ‘Gala Murali' Komaravalli Shivaprasad's concert on January 1 every year at Ravindra Bharathi for a decade. It has been customary to release a CD of Shivaprasad's whistle concert on the day too. So far, nine CDs have been released.

This year, the concert was interestingly titled ‘South meets North', a Carnatic and Hindustani concert by Shivaprasad on the whistle which mesmerised the audience in the august presence of legendary musician Mangalampalli Balamurali. Shivaprasad has the fortune of learning under Balamurali as well as Bharat Ratna awardee Ustad Bismillah Khan. In fact Shivaprasad is the only whistle artiste who has performed in almost all the countries and won accolades from the music fraternity with his dedication for over three decades.

Whistling is a tough art which requires great control in the blowing technique, and it has been ably mastered by Shivaprasad. Bringing out the Carnatic essence on the whistle is even tougher. The hallmark of Shivaprasad's whistle is his sruthi suddhata followed with rich raga bhavam.

Shivaprasad was accompanied on the violin by Peri Sreeramamurthy and Dinakar, on the sitar by Pandurang Mutalik, and by Gurumurty on the keyboard. The percussion artistes were D.S.R. Murty on the mridangam, Javed on the tabla, Hanumanth Rao on the ghatam and Srinivas on the moresing.

He opened his concert with a brief alap of Hamsadwani for Vatapi in a good tempo with catchy swarakalpana. Endaro Mahanubhavulu in Sree ragam came next with the sahityam clearly heard on the whistle, which sounded rich. Hamsanadam was the first ragam which was hummed brilliantly with fast birka phrases for the noted Bantureethi koluvu with mathematical swarakalapana. The title ‘South meets North' was justified with Yaman raga alap which took the centrestage of the concert. He whistled the Hindustani style with elegance and then, in the Carnatic style, the Kalyani.

The jugalbandi from the artiste in both the styles was made very impressive with punching swaraprastaram. At times his whistle concert sounded like the shahanai. The accompanying artistes richly contributed to the success of the concert with their ragalap. Peri Sreeramurthy showed his rich experience with his scholarly Hamsanadam and Kalyani versions. Pandu also contributed well on sitar. The percussion talasangam was made very impressive by Murthy and company with scintillating tani in adi.

Prasad concluded with some noted items of Bismilla Khan in Bhageswari, followed by a dhun in Durga and finally a bandish in Hindolam. Balamurali was in full praise of Shivaprasad's recital. On the day, as a mark of guruvandanam, Shivaprasad richly felicitated him.


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