Margazhi Festival

When the intellect was satisfied

Prince Rama Varma vocal, S.R. Vinu-Violin, B. Harikumar-Mridangam and Dr.S. Karthik-Ghatam. Photo: V. Ganesan.

Prince Rama Varma vocal, S.R. Vinu-Violin, B. Harikumar-Mridangam and Dr.S. Karthik-Ghatam. Photo: V. Ganesan.   | Photo Credit: V_GANESAN

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With little paraphernalia and a malleable masculine voice, Prince Rama Varma exhibited his musical prowess.

Sincerity and devotion pervaded all his presentations right from the opening ‘Viriboni’, Bhairavi Ata thala varnam to the concluding Hindolam tillana. The first raga essay was Amritavarshini. It carried his musical virtuosity and at the same time exhibited voice control. His phrases and fleeting touches were fresh and impressive. In ‘Sudhamayee’ of Muthiah Bhagavatar, he added a precise niraval and a swara pact onto ‘Sarasijakshi’. The subtle round of swara exchanges tuned to match the rhythmic pattern shared by the entire ensemble was quite a treat.

Saveri was the raga of the evening and Rama Varma expanded it with extreme care and delicacy. He presented Swati Thirunal’s ‘Anjaneya Raghuvara’ and embellished it with a swarakalpana on ‘Janakasudha’.

When the singer underplays a musical portion, the team automatically follows . SR Vinu on the violin was pleasing in every way. His feather touch bowing and fingering matched the vocalist’s in every phrase and in total. Thani avartanam by B. Harikumar on the mridangam and S Karthick on the ghatam started off on a soft note but ended with vigour.

After the thani, compositions such as the Yadukulakhambodi kriti of Annamayya and Bharathi’s ‘Ninneyae Rati Endru’ in Sindubhairavi took the stage. The concert was a gratifying experience for those who want music to be soothing to the senses.

Ganesh and Kumaresh’s concert showcased Shanmukhapriya in its various hues and forms. It passed through a gamut of passages of differing speeds and styles exploring the depths of the ragas in traditional, avant-garde and western touches.

The concert also provided space for two significant Dikshitar kritis: ‘Sri Maha Ganapathi’ in Gowla and ‘Kamalambam’ in Sahana. Both were loaded with swaras and Sahana was prefaced by a soulful alapana.

Kumaresh commented that the Trinity would sing their own compositions and not those of the others. Similarly, the duo played their own compositions occasionally adding popular kritis for variety. Percussionists normally have a bash in such shows. Tiruchi Harikumar and Tiruchi Krishna on ghatam enjoyed their share in the duo’s performance.

Rithvik Raja was a surprise; when many of the performing artists’ predilections are to win applause through a variety of techniques, from flamboyant to sedate, he achieved a perfect balance. For his morning concert, he had chosen fast and slow compositions, with moving alapanas, ingenious niravals and aesthetically set swarakalpanas. If one had to go by the rule, Dhanyasi (‘Talachinavaru’ Subbaraya Sastri) should have been the main item. However, it was the earlier Anandabhairavi exercise and Syama Sastri’s ‘O Jagadamba’ that was the centrepiece. Rithvik was totally involved in the raga delineation and showcased the depth of the kriti and even went for an extrapolation on ‘Varachitagiri Nilayuni,’ just not on those two syllables but on the entire line.

Well, it seemed superfluous but the rendition was soaked in piety and that seemed to overshadow everything. The swaraprasthara remained within delectable limits.

In Dhanyasi, the swara section had an enjoyably brisk passage of matrices anchored in panchamam for the phrase ‘Suraripulu Damana Kumara Janani.’

Rithvik’s voice is strong, which can be soothing when necessary. He uses it well to express his musical vision.

The recital opened with ‘Chalamelam,’ the Nattakuranji varnam, ‘Rama Neepai’ in Kedaram, ‘Teradeeyakarada’ in Gowlipantu with some freewheeling swaras and ‘Tanavari dhanamu’ in Begada, all by Tyagaraja (except the varnam) and ‘Kaana Vendamo’ in Sriranjani of Papanasam Sivan.

H.N. Bhaskar (violin), Manoj Siva (mridangam) and B. Purushotham (ganjira) form a reliable team for both ace musicians and up-and-coming artists. That evening they extended unstinted support to enhance the quality of the concert.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2020 4:40:12 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/chennai-margazhi-season/when-the-intellect-was-satisfied/article6672806.ece

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