The spacious colourful shamiana was filled with several school students on the fourth day of the Svanubhava 2010 at the Padma Seshadri Bala Bhavan, K.K. Nagar. The programme began with a ballet ‘Nava Durga' presented by the students of PSBB, the host of the event. The dance depicting the nine forms of Durga, was presented to the brief one liners and instrumental music. The slickly designed and executed programme was also a costume drama with a host of students participating enthusiastically.
This was followed by a special programme featuring four of the budding vocalists coming together to give a vocal recital. This was conceptualised and directed by R Vedavalli.
The main handicap in combining male and female voices is the adjustment of sruti. This either will result in the female voice going shrill or the male voice touching abysmal depths. A very clever balancing act was done here and the sruti alignment was adjusted so that it suited both. So we had Amrita Murali, Balamurali Krishna, Nisha Rajagopal and Prasanna Venkatraman performing to the accompaniment of H.N. Bhaskar on the violin and Poongulam Subramainam on the mridangam.
Kalyani Ata Tala varnam ‘Vanajakshi' set the concert rolling with the first, second and third kalam completed with the chittaswaram. The madyama kala tempo kept the charanam and swara adjunct alive. The morning freshness was further refreshed with a bright Sriranjani Tyagaraja kriti ‘Maru Balga'. The spiralling sangatis on the anupallavi energised the listener and the swara sallies on the line ‘Dari Neriki' went ecstatic with perfect timing. The swaras were centered on shadjam with Amrita and Nisha while Balamurali and Prasanna pitched on rishabam and all the four converged on a disciplined climax.
The Begada alapana was started off by Nisha to be taken up further by Amrita, Balamurali and Prasanna and the phrases were kept flowing with complete ease among the singers aptly supported by H.N. Bhaskar on the violin.
‘Anu Dhinamunu,' the kriti of Ramanathapuram Srinivasa Iyengar was their choice here. The magnificent Thodi was set off by Amrita and the rest structured it to different levels. It was indeed a very pleasant experience, the four different students belonging to different schools of training coming together to perform with perfect understanding and developing the raga using their own creativity at the same time not overshadowing the others.
A perfectly conceived tanam was shared by all once again and the pallavi was ‘Gana Lola Karunala Vala' set to Tisra Jati Jampa talam in Misra Nadai. (Even seasoned musicians nowadays avoid such tricky propositions! The credit should go to Vedavalli's direction)
All the reverential treatments to be given to a pallavi were extended by all the four including trikalam in unison and swarakalapana independently. Here also the exchanges, sometimes with a nano gap and sometimes even without it, offered great listening. The freshness and spontaneity of these young singers added extra magic to the exercise. Luckily there were no diversions of unsolicited ragamalika swaras. Thodi stood alone in all its grandeur.
The concluding number was a thillana in Hamsanandi set to Desathi talam that carries a unique start on ‘veechu.'
Bhaskar on the violin kept a little low profile promoting the youngsters to have the field and Poongulam Subramaniam exhibited his impeccable dynamism in his percussion support and in ‘thani avartanam.'
No doubt Vedavalli should be lauded for directing these promising and aspiring singers to perform together without any technical or practical hitch and the way she had trained them showed what is the exact meaning of musical discipline though in the question and answer session she with her usual humility answered ‘They are very bright youngsters and they picked up whatever I asked them to'.
Kudos to Svanubhava organisers, Vedavalli, the young singers and supporting artists for offering a memorable confluence of youthful music with classic training!