Music

In the true spirit

The concert by Ashok S. and Hariharan -- Bangalore Brothers -- had a fine balance of skill and emotion

MES Kalavedi presented a grand vocal duet by Bangalore Brothers - Ashok S. and Hariharan B. with C.N Chandrasekhar on violin, Arvind Ranganathan on mridangam, Phanindra Bhaskara on ghatam provided the percussion support.

Bangalore Brothers opened the concert with the varnam ‘Chalamela Jesevuraa..’ in Raga Darbar, which was rendered in gamaka infused convention that set the mood for the evening. Next followed ‘Ninne Bhajana seyuvaadanu’ by Thyagaraja, with elaborate kalpana swarams for ‘Seetanatha’. The synchronisation was remarkable between the singing duo.

The next rendition saw the Brothers revel by immersing themselves in the lyrical import of Mysore Vasudevacharya’s ‘Gurukrupa leka, Srihari krupa galuguna’ in Pushpalathika raga. Following the dictates of the content, they exuded guru bhakti and in sublime voice modulations they effectively conveyed the intended sentiment of the song that ‘without guru’s grace it is not possible to attain Lord Hari’s grace’.

Before presenting Maharaja Swati Tirunal’s composition - ‘Mamava sadaa varade amba Mahishaasura mardhini…’ in Natakuranji raga, Hariharan presented the alapana in a powerful, yet mellifluous manner. The manodharma aspect of both the Brothers was vividly seen and the violin support was wonderful. The raga came alive in their presentation, compositional style in subtlety and in nuance.

Then they very assiduously created the mood with the distinctive flavours of Raga Shree, singing the composition of Shyama Sastry – ‘Karuna joodu Ninnu Namminavaadugadaa..’. The expressions of compassion, the pleading tenor in their voices were remarkable.

The next piece, Muthuswamy Dikshithar’s ‘Bala Gopala Paalayaashumam’ in Raga Bhairavi had the master touch. The delineation of raga by capturing its beauty and its meanderings was very evocative. Ashok’s alaapana was distinctive and impacting, the neraval, swara kalpane, thani avarthana by mridanga and ghata, the expansive sequence of the song left the audience spell bound. The fine balance between Bangalore Brothers - sometimes dramatic, sometimes gentle and melodious struck a strong rapport.

Their talent and skill display came to the forefront with their free-flowing outpouring in Muthuswamy Dikshithar’s “Anjaneya Sada Bhaavayami” and during the rendition of HH Sri Ganapathi Satchidananda Swamiji’s ‘Sri Hanuman Jai Hanuman’.

They wound up the concert by presenting three Dasa compositions – one by Gopala Dasaru, two by Purandara Dasaru followed by Papanasam Sivan’s composition, “Sri Rama Jaya Mangalam”. The concert reflected their commitment to music as a form of worship rather than a mere art form. With delectable punches their flourishing voices were best heard in their neraval and manodharma phases exhibiting their proficiency and mastery. The accompanists following them were superb in keeping up with their swaras rendered in different speeds. The vigorous finger strokes and powerful percussion technique of mridangist highly embellished the songs output of the evening. The remarkable control and restraint exhibited by the veteran weaver of flowing notes on the violin lent an outstanding support to the singers.

Finally it is important to mention that musicians must augment the impact of their performance by following few things like - announcing the composition they are about to sing, giving the name of the composer and conveying a little lead to the meaning- the bhavam of the lyrics for the audience to connect better. They should make it an audience-inclusive performance where music becomes a lively conversation between the musician and the listener.

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Printable version | May 30, 2020 3:03:39 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/music/in-the-true-spirit/article29643536.ece

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