A mature performance by Bharat Sundar

Bharat Sundar with Praveen Sparsh and Rajeev at the concert   | Photo Credit: Sunaadalahari

Musicians seem to have shrugged off the fallout of the Covid lockdown and inaction, judging by Bharat Sundar’s impactful concert for Sunaadalahari. Bharat’s concert underscored his ability to master three elements — creativity, depth and moderation of youthful exuberance. The final product was polished and draws comparison with some vintage music.

The young are getting their repertoire lessons quite early these days. Bharat announced his priorities by singing Trinity compositions as his first three pieces. ‘Telisi Rama’ (Poornachandrika, Tyagaraja), ‘Karunanidhi ilalo’ (Thodi, Syama Sastri) and ‘Sree Mathrubhootham’ (Kannada, Dikshitar) are classic expressions of the respective composers. Bharat’s treatment of Thodi and his niraval at “komala mridhubhashini” largely hovering around the upper octave was bright and engaging. Even though all three songs had swara appendages, they were not mechanical. Bharat has a good way of mixing laya and jiva swaras to give new forms.

Alapana style

The highpoint was Kalyani (‘Etavunara,’ Tyagaraja). Most seasoned musicians maintain a unique style for raga alapana, as did Bharat with his Kalyani. The first few minutes had his sangathis and novelties (some unleash them later) starting at the Panchamam and packing with short creative phrases. This was one of the tools T.N. Seshagopalan used to distinguish himself in the 1970s. Bharat’s later course was more predictable but he paced himself well throughout. There is some magic in violinist Rajeev’s fingers. His Kalyani alapana was aligned in spirit with Bharat’s vision that day, but aesthetic in its own right. In the Kalyani niraval (at ‘Sree Karudagu’) too, Bharat opted to sway in the tenor range to fully exploit his melodious voice. Bharat has resolved the sound issue admirably by modulating the decibel and the sharpness in his voice before it reaches the listener’s ears. So, there are no jarring expressions or jerky sounds. His singing is unlikely to wake up a sleeping kid!

Mridangist Praveen Sparsh was quite outstanding, alternating between strong strokes when needed and pauses and soft hands when the singing had to be in the spotlight. Good anticipation of Bharat’s laya forays helped him well. The thani with Chandrasekara Sharma on the ghatam had its own charm, although one felt a 25 minute thani in a 2½ hour concert could be divided into two sessions at two different places and talams, as it used to be once upon a time.

It must also be added that Bharat’s pronunciation and word splits are apt. “Bhu kamalarka” is, for instance, the right split for the charanam of ‘e tavunara.’ It is a good approach to get into first principles in everything . With so much talent, one hopes he stays level-headed.

‘Innudaya barade’ (Kalyanavasantham) of Purandaradasa gave Bharat some emotive spots to explore as did his virutham ‘Orumaiyudan’ in Mohana Kalyani, Sindhubhairavi and Kapi that was followed by ‘Pazhani ninra’ in Kapi. The ubiquitous Maund thillana of Lalgudi Jayaraman signed off a mature performance by a team of bearded men.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2021 2:02:50 AM |

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