Alluring melodies

Keeravani was comprehensive

Keeravani was comprehensive  

Varijashree Venugopal’s concert was a good blend of control and spontaneity

A vocal concert by Varijashree Venugopal, accompanied by J.K. Sridhar (violin), C. Cheluvaraju (mridanga) and C.P. Vyasa Vittala (kanjira), was hosted by Upaasana Kala Sangha, Bangalore, recently.

The performance began with a brisk rendition of ‘Sarasuda’, the adi thala varna in Saveri raga. Papanasam Sivan’s adi thala krithi “Mooladhara Murthi” in Hamsadhwani was prefaced with a short sketch of the raga and adorned with kalpana swaras at ‘Velayudha Guhan’. ‘Angarakam Ashrayamyaham’ in Surutti raga and rupaka thala led to a bracing ‘Amba Paradevathe’ in Rudrapriya raga and khanda chapu thala, suffixed with a few rounds of fluent and energetic kalpana swaras. ‘Marivere Gathi’ in Anandabhairavi raga and mishra chapu thala, presented in a mellow tempo, was succeeded by the rare Thyagaraja piece in Ganavaridhi, ‘Daya Juchutakidi Velara’.

Behag was taken up for a fairly detailed alapana that highlighted the intrinsic beauty and intricacy of the raga with great felicity. A plethora of sancharas around pivotal notes such as the gandhara, panchama and nishada revealed impressive powers of improvisation and a keen aesthetic sense. Mysore Vasudevacharya’s composition ‘Pahi Krishna Vasudeva’ in rupaka thala was followed by Thyagaraja’s ‘Rama Neeve’ in Narayani raga and adi thala, embellished with spirited kalpana swaras, some of which incorporated rhythmic patterns that were logical precursors to the pallavi eduppu.

The main raga of the evening, Keeravani, was elaborated comprehensively. A slow, meditative beginning developed gradually into complex, yet alluring phrases, with the emphasis being on melody and individuality. After dwelling extensively on the rishabha, madhyama and panchama and briefly on the nishada, the raga essay ascended to a perfectly shruthi aligned thara sthayi shadja, with multiple phrases beyond. While the clarity, flexibility and sweetness of the artiste’s voice were most evident in the full-throated akaaras, the profusion of ikaara sancharas at times tended to mute the impact. A short thana was succeeded by a pallavi beginning ‘Devi Vani’ set to adi thala, which was expanded with a compact, but well-crafted neraval and kalpana swaras in two speeds that included a spate of diminishing thala cycles at the thara sthayi shadja, attesting to strong rhythmic control and spontaneity, and a distinct preference for the higher octave. Tuneful violin accompaniment in consonance with the vocalist’s mandate and superb percussion support in conformity with the compositions and the manodharma component, were notable features of the concert, which ended with a Vijayadasa composition in Vasanthi raga and a thillana in Karnaranjani.

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Printable version | Jun 5, 2020 10:11:27 AM |

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