Music

Keeping the melody intact

Lalgudi GJR Krishnan and Vijayalakshmi. Photo: M. Karunakaran

Lalgudi GJR Krishnan and Vijayalakshmi. Photo: M. Karunakaran   | Photo Credit: M_Karunakaran

Lalgudi GJR Krishnan and Vijayalakshmi moved beyond the traditional template

The torchbearers of the Lalgudi bani, GJR Krishnan and Vijayalakshmi bring in their own to their legacy with their distinctive style. At their concert for Hamsadhwani they displayed how one can stay true to the grammar yet push the creative boundaries. Throughout the concert the melody remained intact despite the artistes bringing in a newness to the presentation.

They opened with a varnam of Lalgudi Jayaraman with the essence of raga Nalinakanti reflecting in every note. Similarly, the swarakalpana that followed for the next piece ‘Ekambresa nayike’ in Karnataka Suddha Saveri (Dikshitar) was a charming cluster of swaras.

In ‘Bhuvaneswaria’ in Mohana Kalyani (a favourite raga of the Lalgudi clan) by Muthiah Bhagavatar, the swara exchanges between the siblings reminded one of the inimitable thillana composed by their father in the same raga. Tyagaraja’s ‘Nannu vidachi’ in Ritigowla was a sober filler.

Two ragas, Sankarabharanam presented by Vijayalakshmi and Shanmukhapriya by both, were dealt with in detail. They were not only aesthetic but also technically impressive. The forte of Lalgudi style are longish, sonorous strokes couched in bhava-laden phrases; they were there, but surprisingly in parts. The slightly middling Sankarabharanam of Vijayalakshmi and the initial clipped phrases in Shanmukhapriya by Krishnan were surprising bits. In Sankarabharanam, it was ‘Nannukaruninchi’ by Garbhapurivasar with limited rounds of swaras. Fast moving ‘Sama gana lolane’ in Hindolam (Papanasam Sivan) paved the way for RTP.

The Ragam, Tanam and Pallavi in Shanmukhapriya, Kanda Triputa, ‘Sada Ramachandram bhaje’ traversed the energetic route with niraval, trikalam and ragamalika swaras. Here, a touch of class made the Yadukulakamboji and Kalyanavasantham sections sound special.

Thiruvaroor Bakthavatsalam (mridangam) played in a subdued manner; his showmanship coming to the fore in the thani with Alathur Rajaganesh (ganjira). Their rhythmic sallies were like a pyrotechnic display.

The closing part comprised the delicate ‘Paramatmudu’ in Vagadeeswari (Tyagaraja), the spry ‘Tungatharange’ in Hamsadhwani (Sadasiva Brahmendra) and the lilting Misra Sivaranjani thillana (Lalgudi Jayaraman).

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Printable version | Mar 30, 2020 2:43:12 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/music/Torchbearers-of-the-Lalgudi-bani-GJR-Krishnan-and-Vijayalakshmi-show-their-distinctive-style/article17353491.ece

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