Music

Innovative approach

Musical genius Charulatha  

The grounding in Carnatic music is evident in most present day vocalists but the manner in which this is presented on stage varies greatly. Since the code of conduct for classical Carnatic music is rather rigid, it is not all that appealing.

Hence, the small liberties that artistes take with the norms are more acceptable today than it was, say a decade ago.

Charulatha Mani's ‘grand Carnatic vocal recital' under the aegis of the South Indian Cultural Association (SICA) was more of a Dasaranama featuring Purandaradasa compositions, Annamacharya and abhangs interspersed by a Thyagaraja and a Dikshitar.

Her appeal lay in educating her audience with her brief introductions to the raga, the moorchana (series of swaras that form the framework), the theme and meaning of the composition, which definitely facilitates better appreciation, especially for the uninitiated.

If you expected the regular fare for the opening Hamsadhwani, a Muthuswami Dikshitar's Vatapi Ganapatim… well that was not Charulatha for you. Right from the beginning through the Abhogi, the Dhenuka, Shudda Dhanyasi, Mukhari, and so on, it was an innovative approach that climaxed in a bhajan-like reverie for most part. Thunge Mangala Tharange Purandharadasa kritis in Abhogi on the river Thungabhadra and Narayana… in Shudda Dhanyasi and Jagaddhodarana (Kapi), Venkatachalanilayam in Sindhubhairavi and the last Bhagyada Lakshmi Baramma were rendered with a gusto while the abhangs were authentic and emotive, especially raag Pilu ( Dalita khandita) which is innately melodic. The vocalist shifted gear to Pilu's thaat Kafi or our southern Kaapi. Jagaddhodharana….

The bhajan wrap up for Thyagaraja kriti Teliyaleru Rama Bhakti Margamu could have been avoided since kritis are to be sung under a set format and any creativity needs to be done within the parameters of this framework. And this being a Melakarta raga the musician could have chosen this as the centrepiece rather than Annamacharya's Brahma kadigina paadamu… (Mukhari) because its swarakalpana, the taniavarthanam and other paraphernalia seemed out of place in a Carnatic classical concert. Viewed in isolation, the tani by S.J. Arjun Ganesh was compelling and more so when it swept into a sawaal-jawab' with the ghatam player B. Janardhan and further escalated into a healthy contest. Violin support by B. Anantha Krishnan was very impressive throughout the recital.

The popular Abhang Teertha Vittala, Khetra Vittalacame close on the heels of Annamacharya and landed us once again into the bhajan mode. Charulatha drew a comparative note between Krishna Nee Begane Baaro(Yamuna Kalyani) and M.K. T. Bhagavatar's Jaya Krishna Mukunda Murari. Kaatrinile Varum Geetam (MS' film Meera) rounded off the recital hosted at Ravindra Bharati.

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Printable version | Jan 22, 2021 8:55:40 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/music/innovative-approach/article2392815.ece

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