Evenings of ragas and rhythm

Kochi was treated to a five-day-long dance and music extravaganza by noted artistes, recently.

Shashank Subramanyam

The flautist gave the inaugural day’s concert. ‘Bantureeti kolu’, a Tyagaraja kriti in Hamsanadam, had an outpouring of kalpanaswaras that displayed the immense virtuosity of the flautist. In his Keeravani alaapana, he alternated between the standard flute and its base version. He also combined notes in adjacent octaves. H. N. Bhaskar on the violin gave a follow up that was hermeneutic and deft. Tyagaraja’s ‘Kalikiyunte’, with its dyanamic sangatis, was played with emphasis on the laya aspects of the piece. The concert, till this point, was a display of skill and technique. However, in his Poorvikalyani alaapana, Shashank followed the note by note progression culminating in a tanam and an almost truncated pallavi in Chaturashrajathi triputa. Bhaskar too shone with his dexterous speedy phrases. Patri Satish Kumar complemented the melody and heightened the level of the concert in the tani, which was short yet packed with many variations. One felt that the lack of an upapakkavadyam gave free reign to Satish’s expression. Shashank also played ragamalika swaras in Kapi and Hamsanandi.

Asha Sharath

She performed Bharatanatyam on the second day. After Harinarayana kowthwam, Asha moved on to ‘Bhavayami raghuramam’, the Ramayana ragamalika of Swati Tirunal. Most of the portrayals, namely Ravana as a hermit, the hunchback Manthara and the kings at the swayamwara, lacked depth. The lines were hardly repeated and hence the shift to different characters was swift and ineffective. However, Asha came good in the portrayal of Khandita nayika in the Huseni padam, ‘Netranthinerathile’ and the depiction of Vatsalya in ‘Krishna nee begane’.

Akkarai Sisters

The recital by the duo, Subhalakshmi and Sornalatha, on the third day was absorbing for the weighty selection of compositions and treatment. The clarity of technique that the sisters bring in their playing of the violin was evinced in their singing too. A three-speed rendition of ‘Eranapai varnam’ gave way to a stirring rendition of ‘Deva deva kalayamithe’ in Mayamalavagowla and the sarvalaghu passages that accompanied it. ‘Akhilandeshwari’ in Dwijavanthi was followed by Sornalatha’s bhava-soaked rendition of Kalyani raga preceding Swati Tirunal’s ‘Pankajalochana’. The niraval on ‘Vrindavanandakrita’ was marked by many variations and this was further evinced in the swaraprasthara centering on Nishada by the two sisters. Subhalakshmi’s cohesive alaapana of Thodi was marked by fast brigas. A quintessential Carnatic raga, Thodi is sung with focus on the gamakas, however Subhalakshmi could bring the wholesome feel even while focusing on the fast sancharas. She covered almost two full octaves bringing out the sheer beauty of the raga. Viju S. Anand on the violin sincerely attempted to follow the style of the vocalists.

‘Koluvamaragatha kodandapani’, the Tyagaraja composition, was given its due weighty treatment. Patri Satish Kumar once again shone in the tani, building jathi patterns in a progressive manner bringing the crescendo to a packed finish that brought the house down. He was supported by Udupi Sreedhar in this feat.

Methil Devika

Her Mohiniyattam performance on the fourth day was marked by excellence in choreography and meticulous craft. She presented six structured items packed into a full 90 minutes show. ‘Cholkettu’, primarily a rhythm based item in Mohiniyattam, was interspersed with some sahitya in which Devika described the male female dualities pulsating in the cosmos. Another popular item in the Bharatanatyam and Carnatic music repertoire, ‘Yaro Ivar yaro’ of Arunachala Kavi, saw the deja vu experienced by Rama as he sets eyes on Sita for the first time in Mithila. Devika could bring out the girlish coyness of Sita as she plays with the ball. The episode ends on a romantic note as Rama returns the ball when the two gaze at each other. Devika presented aspects of ‘Soumya thandava’ in Chidambareshwara sthotram. The magnificent dance of Nataraja was given expression with a few movements that are not typical to Mohiniyattam. Devika’s main presentation for the day was Dikshitar’s ‘Hariharaputram’ in raga Vasantha. She traced the 18 steps to the bhakta attaining divinity, after following the vows of good thought and conduct in the pilgrimage to Sabarimala temple. Even a still born is infused with life with the utterance of the Lord’s name. Another dramatic instance was when the dancer portrayed the gait of the demon Mahishi with horns and her fight with Ayyappa. In a unique item based on Buddhist mythology, elements of Chinese music were used. With her students, Devika danced in tandem striking the serene pose of the Buddha in ‘dharmachakra’ mudra. At the height of Nirvana, the Buddha even attains the form of a woman.

Singer Biju Narayanan entertained the audiences on the final day by singing some evergreen film songs. The event was organised by Kerala Fine Arts Society as part of its diamond jubilee celebrations.

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Printable version | Oct 7, 2022 12:22:33 pm |