Exotic melodies

Dr. Anasuya Kulkarni’s recital demonstrated her grip over the rare instrument

MES Kalavedi, Bangalore, hosted an evening of ‘Anghklung Bamboo Vadana’ by Dr. Anasuya Kulkarni recently. The artiste explained, in a brief introduction, the characteristics of the anghklung, classified as a bamboo rattle instrument and prevalent in Indonesia and some other parts of South East Asia. It was also stated that the instrument, originally played by a group of people with each handling just a note or two and directed by a conductor, was adapted by the artiste to suit the demands of a solo Karnatic exposition. The new version with a modified structure and playing technique has been termed the ‘ankrang’.

While the lead artiste was ably supported by her young disciples Tapasya and Jahnavi, the accompanists for the evening were Jyotsna Manjunath (violin), Anoor Dattatreya Sharma (mridanga), and Gururaj (morsing).

The concert began with a lively rendition of a varna in Nalinakanthi raga and adi thala composed by Mysore Vasudevacharya. ‘Vathapi Ganapathim’ in Hamsadhwani raga and adi thala, which followed, was adorned with kalpana swaras. The perennial favourite, Patnam Subrahmanya Iyer’s ‘Raghuvamsa Sudhambudhi’ in Kathanakuthuhalam led to a compact elaboration of Amrithavarshini and the Muthaiah Bhagavathar krithi ‘Sudhamayi’ in rupaka thala.

A succinct alapana of Abheri prefaced the Thyagaraja composition ‘Nagumomu’ in adi thala. The short, but engaging kalpana swaras that ensued were crowned with a mellifluous rhythmic pattern and culminated in an engrossing thani avarthana that at times reflected the rolling, reverberating qualities of the lead instrument. The concluding pieces of the concert were a folk song and an Indonesian piece, the Vrindavani thillana by Dr. Balamuralikrishna and ‘Bhagyada Lakshmi Baramma’ in Madhyamavathi.

The performance testified to the great dexterity and presence of mind required to handle an unusual and exotic instrument imported into the Carnatic system. Also in evidence was the lead artiste’s grip over the complexities and dictates of the genre itself. The choice of ragas and songs, with a preponderance of plain notes rather than gamaka-oriented ones, was evidently based on the scope of the instrument itself, the intricate and riveting yet quaint confluence of rhythmic and melodic orientation of which was explicit in all the items including the raga alapanas. Apt and diligent violin accompaniment and excellent percussion contributed significantly to the overall impact.

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Printable version | Apr 9, 2020 6:45:13 AM |

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