Margazhi Festival

Touch of flamboyance

S. Saketharaman. Photp: B. Jothi Ramalingam

S. Saketharaman. Photp: B. Jothi Ramalingam  

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S. Saketharaman’s voice has acquired volume and weight; and he has probably gained vision as well. Therefore, it was a grand start when he opened with ‘Mayatheetha Swarupini’ (Ponniah Pillai) in Mayamalavagowla at his concert for Kartik Fine Arts. He went on a spree showcasing niraval and swaras on Mayamalavagowla. And so, that piece took up 20 minutes of the concert.

He began the next number with an alapana that sounded rather new. Saketharaman announced the raga as Priyadarshini, and sang ‘Rukmini Pathe’ of Guru Surajananda, with long winding swaras.

He then slowed down a little as he chose Tyagaraja’s Anandabhairavi kriti ‘Neeke Teliyaka.’ A rather speedy ‘Varanarada’ (Tyagaraja) in Vijayashree had some interesting string of swaras.

And then Saketharaman focussed all his attention on Thodi and the Tiruvaiyaru Bard’s kriti ‘Emi Jesithe Nemi.’ With a touch of sruti bedam in between, he developed the raga in all its majesty.

While Saketheraman’s rendition was ostentatious, violinist Mysore V. Srikanth’s portrayal of Thodi was sublime. Srikanth underplayed his part throughout but with conviction.

The Ragam-Tanam-Pallavi in two ragas Vasantha and Behag set to tisra triputa, had interesting pallavi lines which referred to Siva and Krishna through word play. Ugh, another medley of swaras with Vasantha, Behag, Sama, Kedaragowla and Hamsanadam… Was there a need to add long swaras for every item? Fine, his open-throated articulation showed his command and confidence. But, for somebody who is from the Lalgudi school, he was a tad flashy and demonstrative.

Thanjavur Murugaboopathi on the mridangam and Guru Prasanna on the ganjira showcased their best. Their dramatic thani drew a thunderous applause. Well, one could hear the applause right from the start to the end of Saketharaman’s swara sections. What more do artists need?

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Printable version | Jan 29, 2020 2:41:12 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/chennai-margazhi-season/touch-of-flamboyance/article6672796.ece

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