Classic performances

Nritha and sangeetam: Gayathri  

The Soorya Festival in Kochi brought together some fine talents in music and dance. The festival began with a Bharatanatyam performance by Priyadarsini Govind. The danseuse began with a sober Mallari and an alarippu. Next, using the moolamantra of Devi, the danseuse portrayed the serene and ferocious forms of the goddess, and also her benevolent self as Annapoorna in ‘Nityanandakari varabhayakari.'

In her element

She came into her element in the varnam ‘Swamiye azhaithodi va' by Dandayudhapani Pillai. Although, the flawless araimandi and clarity of jathis were the highlights of this piece, it was Priyadarsini's abhinaya in the padams that moved the audience. The ‘Parakeeya nayika' in ‘Sivadeeksha parulanura' is a worshipper of Shiva, yet pines for Krishna. The danseuse's abhinaya was subtle in this piece. In the Behag javali ‘Samayamithe ra ra,' the nayika stealthily sends her husband away so that she can let her paramour into the house. The last piece was an abhang, which was presented with devotional fervour.

Ragamala Dance Company from Minneapolis, United States, presented the dance ballet ‘Sthree' on the second day of the festival. Rani Ramaswamy, a disciple of Alarmel Valli, lead a team of 10 dancers of various ethnic backgrounds. The ballet was based on the Tamil classic ‘Silapathikaram.' Aparna Ramaswamy excelled as the courtesan Madhavi. Her style closely resembled that of Valli's. Kannaki's angst and Madhavi's joy were well depicted, as dancers emoted to swaras with no rhythmic back-up. The English narration, which dominated the entire ballet, was often a distraction from the lyrics.

Rashid Musthafa of Layasakthi performed with his son Shariq to create rhythmic magic on the tabla on the third day of the festival. This was followed by a dance recital by Anjana Jha of Kathak Kendra, Delhi. After ‘Rudrashtakam,' where the dancer portrayed the ‘roudra' form of Lord Shiva, she went on to perform Uthaan in Jhap taal, an item of pure dance with impeccable footwork. Her abhinaya in a Surdas bhajan ‘Mala tilak manohar' was excellent. She later performed a graceful ‘Sargam' in Bageshri.

The fourth day saw a Bharatanatyam recital by Lakshmi Gopalaswamy. After a Pushpanjali in Gowla raga, she performed a Kali Kauthwam. ‘Innam en Manam,' the Charukeshi varnam of Lalgudi Jayaraman, dominated the recital, on account of its clear portrayal of sancharis and jathis. However, Uma Gopalaswamy's vocals left a lot to be desired. ‘Smarathinumam sadayam,' the Behag piece of Swati Tirunal, showcased the childhood games and pranks of Krishna and Kuchela, and their emotional reunion after many years. Lakshmi wound up the show with a Kamas tillana.

Hindustani music

On the final day, there was a Hindustani music concert by Gayatri. She sang only one number in the pure classical style. The majority of her concert was devoted to lighter numbers and ghazals. The ‘sweet and simple' treatment of Malkauns had too short an alaap. The singer handled the upper octaves well.

She, however, lost grip in the drut khayal ‘Rang raliyan karat sautan sang' and in the sargam that followed. A Kajri ‘Saawan ki ritu aaye' and ‘Guru Paiyyan' set alight mood for the rest of the recital.

Gayatri drew praise from the audience for her rendition of ‘Mitkar bhi Mohabbat mein,' a ghazal by Sudarshan Fakir.

Gayathri was at her expressive best in the Asha Bhosle classic ‘Hairaton ke silsile.' Prakash Ulliyeri gave some excellent flourishes on the harmonium for this piece and was duly lauded.

The festival was organised by Kerala Fine Arts society.

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Printable version | Oct 26, 2021 5:02:15 AM |

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