The monsoon rains in Delhi, it seems, coincide with the Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar Festival of Music, Dance and Drama. At least on two days during the weeklong festival, it rained heavily. Thoughtfully, the festival was organised at Kamani auditorium instead of in the Akademi's open-air auditorium.
Amongst others, C. S. Sajeev (Carnatic vocal), Mysore A. Chandan Kumar (Carnatic instrumental – flute), Trivandram V. Balaji (Carnatic instrumental – mridangam) and Anil Srinivasan (creative and experimental music) were awarded the award for 2009.
In his brief vocal concert, C.S. Sajeev presented a good account of himself. Short shlokas in the form of viruthams preceded and ended the concert. Immediately after the invocation, “Mahaganapatim”, a composition of Muthuswami Dikshitar in raga Nattai, Sajeev had to take up the central item of his recital. Tyagaraja's “Nagumomu ganaleni” in raga Abheri was presented in a somewhat detailed manner, with a good delineation of the raga at the outset and impressive swaraprastaras towards the end.
Sajeev was ably accompanied by Delhi's VSK Chakrapani on the violin, besides yet another winner of the award for this year, Trivandram V. Balaji on the mridangam, and Herbert Lang on the kanjira. While Chakrapani followed the vocalist closely on his violin, the percussionists' tani avartanam in Adi tala, though very brief, was enjoyable. Similarly, the brief performance of the other awardees, namely Mysore A. Chandan Kumar and Anil Srinivasan too were impressive.
Three successive recitals in an evening reduce the time available to the artistes. Sangeet Natak Akademi should consider giving at least an hour-and-a-half to these artistes, even if it means reducing the number of concerts on a given evening or increasing the length of the festival. Though their musical talents are revealed in such short recitals, the full-fledged ‘concert experience' is absent. The Akademi's efforts, however, in identifying young talents and awarding them are laudable.
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Sajeev was initiated into Carnatic music by Irinjalakuda Vijayakumar and later received advanced training from Varkala C.S. Jayaram.
MYSORE A. CHANDAN KUMAR
Chandan Kumar is the great grandson of the legendary T. Chowdaiah. He received his initial training in music from M. Gopalakrishna and advanced training from P.S. Narayanaswamy.
TRIVANDRUM V. BALAJI
Balaji was initiated into the family art by his grandfather Kodivayal Venkatarama Iyer. He has received further training from B. Doraiswamy, K. Krishna Iyengar, R. Vaidyanathan and Palghat R. Raghu.
Anil was initiated into Carnatic music by Karaikudi Subramaniam and received training in Western classical music from Anna Abraham.