Sangeetha Ksheera Sagaram concerts Music

Where technique and soul found a meeting ground

Women to the fore Lalitha Madhav in concert with 10-year-old Siva Teja and women percussionists

Women to the fore Lalitha Madhav in concert with 10-year-old Siva Teja and women percussionists   | Photo Credit: By arrangement

Vocalist Lalitha Madhav’s concert was a rare occasion in Hyderabad where female musicians earned a deserving platform to shine

Sangeetha Ksheera Sagaram’s monthly concert series hosted at Saptaparni has been instrumental in casting light on the unexplored local musical talents over the years. The previous week’s concert was a significant step forward for its effort to foster female presence among classical musicians in Hyderabad. Vocalist Bhamidipati Lalitha Madhav took centre stage at the event where her co-musicians Radhika Srinivasan on the violin and Veenadhari on the mridangam chipped in with their impressive enthusiasm. A 10-year-old youngster Siva Teja’s presence on the kanjira rung in vibrancy to the musical evening.

Lalitha Madhav’s refined voice culture opened audiences to her ease with vocal modulation, needless to say, her clear diction. She displayed her skill within the scope of a composition and cut any possible indulgences short. Setting a strong emotional foundation to a number with her elaborate-yet-effective ragalapanas, bringing the texture and the niceties of the raga in impressive depth, the concert was as educative as it was soulful. The only issue was with its limited audience to appreciate the same.

She ticked most boxes right with her composition choices, making space for the classical trinity in addition to vaggeyakaras like G N Balasubramaniam, Mysore Vasudevachar and Mutthaiah Bhagavatar in addition to the quintessential Narayana Theertha for a tarangam. Devotion laced with a dose of philosophy is a good combination to savour and this concert had it aplenty.

Maathe Malayadhwaja, the Mutthaiah Bhagavatar varnam in Khamas ragam, an ode to Goddess Meenakshi was just the right popular piece to ease a rasika into a concert (apt also for a women-led event) before heading towards to the lesser-explored works of other musicians. Vara Vallabha Ramana’s inherent pleasantness in Hamsadhwani ragam radiated in her next piece, but the experience of listening to a vivadi ragam like Nasikabhushani brought intrigue to the concert. Only utilised by a handful of vaggeyakaras, its candour during the rendition of Thyagaraja’s Maaravairi Ramani felt like a piece of history being revisited.

Dvaithamu Sukhama in Reethigowla ragam (known to evoke the karuna and bhakti rasas), structured more like a question from Thyagaraja directed to the Almighty about the right path to salvation and his idea about oneness, is a work where the vocalist’s understanding of its subtext is integral to the singing. Lalitha Madhav made sure the experience was as elevating and extended this idea to another number ably, Annamacharya’s Naguvulu Nijamani in Yamuna Kalyani ragam.

The technically resounding Kaasi Visalakshi of Dikshitar in Purvikalyani ragam was aimed more at the musically aware connoisseur with the innovative swara kalpana and ragalapana, whose emotional core could have been stronger. Her swift transition between the brisk gamakas to the varied swara phrases, the assertiveness of the mridangam artiste went a long way in making a memorable main item out of Thyagaraja’s Chakkani raja in Kharaharapriya ragam.

It was a happy sign to see the Tarangam inch its way back to recitals after a lull, the choice of Narayana Theertha’s Kalyana Gopalam describing the resplendence of Krishna as a bridegroom in Sindhu Bhairavi ragam made for a pleasant hearing. It was hard to be unmoved by Syama Sastri’s leisurely-structured Nannu Brovu Lalitha in a composition bearing the ragam name in its initial lines (Lalitha).

In a concert dominated by slow-paced, melody centric works, the presence of the riveting Neekela Dayaradu Ramachandra (in Kadanakutuhala ragam) was indeed invigorating. The contrast of an empowering ragam set to a lyric that talks of the Almighty’s lack of acknowledgement to a sincere devotee makes this Mysore Vasudevachar work all the more interesting.

The climactic Thillana in Rageswari ragam, a work of Lagudi Jayaraman was no less pulsating. The accompanists got a deserving platform to present their skill through the evening. Near perfect with the musical appeal and technical finesse, Lalitha Madhav could have afforded a better balance between the familiar and rare compositions for a far-reaching impact.

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Printable version | Apr 3, 2020 6:09:47 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/music/the-friday-review-telangana/article30761801.ece

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