Kriteka Iyer’s Bhimpalas stood out

A good student who can, with diligence, blossom into a competent musician

Published - May 20, 2021 06:34 pm IST

Kriteka Iyer

Kriteka Iyer

Kriteka Iyer, who performed recently at Rasika Ranjani Sabha in Chennai, was brought up in Ahmedabad and is among the few singers from Tamil Nadu to pursue Hindustani classical music.

Trained under Ustad Waseem Ahmed Khan and the doyenne Girija Devi — both scholars at ITC-SRA, Kolkata — Kriteka has a sweet voice which, with time and experience, will perhaps gain power and depth, making her music more full-bodied. Her concert was complete in repertoire — with khayals, thumri and bhajan. Since it was a 75-minute concert, it seemed to rush from one piece to the other, without giving a complete experience of any one aspect. But the rendition of raga Bhimpalas, the mainstay of the concert, was an exception to this.

Kriteka rendered three bandishes in Bhimpalas, one in vilambit and the other two in drut. She chose the famous bandish ‘Ab to der bhai’, immortalised by legendary musicians across gharanas. My mind harked back to the reflective contours of Pt. Pratap Narayan recording of 1998. Kriteka took us through the raga stage by stage, and once in a while a phrase or a bhaav reminded us of Girija Devi.

Striking bol bant

The musician knows the method, her music ideas are good, and she doesn’t resort to a display of skill nor does she seek to make her rendition flashy. Her pursuit is serious, and like a devout student she explores the many possibilities of articulation. But it is also time for Kriteka to push the frontiers and take on challenges beyond known territories. The landing notes, before she picked up the mukhda , seemed to pose a problem, often faltering into an alien note. The frequency with which this happened disrupted the mood she had built thus far. Her rendition of ‘Moorat man…” and ‘Jaa jaare” were more competent than her vilambit portions. She maintained stability in higher speeds, marked with interesting features. Her bol bant was striking, her gamak tans were immaculate and lucid, and she brought energy to her singing in these portions.

The rendition of Kedar Bandish by Ustad Khadim Husain Khan (Sajan Piya) — the maestro of the Agra Gharana — was a laboured one. The brief picture she presented of the raga was evocative, but the bandish itself was hard to attain. The thumri in Des also faltered a bit. I personally thought that these glitches were more due to poor planning than any lack of ability. There was no time for Kriteka to absorb herself into these compositions.

The much liked and sung Marathi Natyasangeet (from Jai Jai Gaurishankar ) ‘Narayana Rama Ramana’ was the concluding piece. It was a vibrant and energetic song, and it took the mood to a crescendo.

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