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With the Margazhi season encroaching into Thai, a familiar topic of discussion among rasikas is what point in the voice curve of a vocalist must one target to listen? Voice is one of T.M. Krishna’s strengths and yet it was a double treat that it accentuated his powerful kutcheri style, being still in the early phase of the season. Exceptional tonal quality, good use of amplification and articulate enunciation of lyrics stood out at the concert for Sruthi Laya Kendra at Asthika Samajam.

His reputation for new tactics (sometimes controversially bizarre) creates curiosity before a concert. Vagatheeswari (‘Paramatmudu’) as the main piece, first speed swaram for a second speed sahityam and the likes filled the newness quota for the evening.

Krishna began with Dikshitar’s ‘Balakrishnam Bhavayami’ (Gopikavasantham). The fluency of sarvalaghu swaras at the end seemed to hide the rarity of the raga. There were interesting janta and dattu combinations which learners would have lapped up. ‘Sree Venkatagirisam’ (Dikshitar, Surutti) in a slower tempo was preceded by soulful raga essays both from Krishna and violinist Ramanujacharyulu. It reignited the debate on whether ragas are born supreme or the kritis made them to be.

‘Intha kande kavalana’ (Patnam Subramanya Iyer, Kannada) was a brisk filler and journeyed without the lightning speed swaras that is almost a DNA in Krishna’s style.

Vagatheeswari did wander in the “Harikhambodi” zone for a while before the advent of the rishaba. But the later evolution of the alapana showed Krishna’s rare-raga skills and of course, Saint Tyagaraja’s brilliance in painting a raga with just one kriti. Ramanujacharyulu stayed true to the swaroopa of the raga in the alapana and the neraval.

The two performers were completely in unison in the main song. ‘Janaki Ramana’ (Kapi) and ‘Chinnanchiru kiliye’ (commemorating the great Bharati on his birthday) represented the tail segment. Srimushnam Raja Rao, with his vocal dexterity backing him, chose his “sollu” close to the song contours. The popular tani avarthanam was also popularly loud and long. Prasanna, a disciple of V. Suresh provided sensible support.

This was a concert sans theatrics and filled the audience’s appetite gracefully. Perhaps there are different audience kinds in different platforms. The organisation honoured a senior Mridangist Tanjavur Ramamoorthy and presented him a purse.

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Printable version | Jan 27, 2022 2:20:14 AM |

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