Friday Review

On a different wavelength

Jayateerth Mevundi and M. Narmada.  

In the slew of adventurously scripted musical pairings that characterised the 2016 edition of the Bharath Sangeet Utsav, jointly organised by Sri Parthasarathy Swami Sabha and Carnatica, eminent artists, Jayateerth Mevundi and M. Narmada were featured in a jugalbandhi.

While Jayateerth is a well-known Hindustani classical vocalist from the Kirana gharana, violinist Narmada, daughter and disciple of the late violin maestroM.S. Gopalakrishnan, is a torchbearer of the Parur bani, who is accomplished in both the Carnatic and Hindustani disciplines.

Languid strokes sketched raag Madhuvanthi as voice and violin navigated the vilambit, creating little whorls around the nishadh and pancham in the mandra saptak. The raga’s intrinsic melancholy tinged the minute riffs that textured the shadja-madhyam suite. The splendour of full-throated vocal power shone in Jayateerth’s pitch-perfect tara sthayi shadja and successive sustained pure notes in the upper register. Quickening to madhyama kala, the pace was augmented by dynamic sargams seguing into crystal-clear taans that sliced through multiple octaves to culminate in triple-permutation laya landings.

The dhrut ‘Mein Man’ sparked rapid-fire passages, of note, the stunning continuously-woven taans that encompassed key vadi-samvadi phrases.

Jayateerth launched into raag Jog with the ever-green ‘Saajan Morey Ghar Aao’ wherein each meend brimmed with the tenderness of an intensely-felt love.

Narmada’s passages wound through melodic paths that explored both level and complex terrains. The syllables of the tarana in the same raag infused vigour into the composition.

Music became prayer in Jayateerth’s moving rendition of an abhang.

Vyasmurthi Katti (harmonium) and Ravindra Yavagal (tabla) were sources of immense strength, with their apt responses and buoyant support.

A jugalbandhi is a delicate, sometimes dicey proposition. When shortlisting the collaborating artists, the concert organiser should take into account not just the musicians’ individual strengths but also their respective approaches. While the vidwat of the two artists featured in this instance, is indubitable, their combined energies did not quite gel and you were left with the conviction that their expertise would have been better showcased, had they been featured solo.

With the responsibility of determining the concert format resting squarely on the organisers’ shoulders, they would have done well to jump off the ‘innovation for the sake of it’ bandwagon and exercise sound musical judgment.

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Printable version | Dec 4, 2020 2:21:26 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/On-a-different-wavelength/article16644630.ece

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