Music

Voice of experience

Balamuralikrishna in concert.

Balamuralikrishna in concert.   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

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Maestro Balamuralikrishna’s virtuosity and warmth struck a chord with his audience.



Veteran musician Balamuralikrishna has a singular way of striking a rapport with his audience. “Today, I am not feeling well. So whatever I sing, you say good,” he said. Listeners who had assembled to listen to the maestro at a programme at Peringottukara, near Thrissur responded with thunderous applause and the vocalist appeared more cheerful. His physical discomfort was evident not only in his posture but also in the nagging cough. But, as ever, he exuded an air of warmth.

Once he delineated Hamsadwani through a short string of ‘hums’, and opened with ‘Vathapi Ganapathim’, the signature of his resonant voice came to the fore. The line ‘Vathapi Ganapathim baje hum’ manifested in 15 sangatis, each with subtle differences. Also, the next line with fewer sangatis stopped at ‘vara pradam’, to be completed by ‘sri’ later. This was fascinating. The musician exhibited unmatched dexterity in the kalpanaswaras that spanned over three sthayis. Jumping from one to the other in different sthayis added to the colour of the raga. Supported vocally by Krishnakumar, the charanas were completed in an attractive manner.

Krishnakumar’s rendition of a new composition in Kiravani was a filler to provide a break to Balamurali. The composition ‘Bhuvaneswari rakshamayi’ was an excerpt from a new album ‘Dasapadmam’. Scripted by Poornathreya Jayaprakas, its music was scored by S.V. Krishna.

It may be remembered that Balamuralikrishna had composed in all the 72 melakartha ragas at the age of 16. ‘Thamralochani latangi’ in Latangi, 63rd melam, which he took up for elaboration, was the highlight of the 90-minute concert. An invocation to goddess Parvati, its swaras are, Shadjam and Panchamam apart, Chatursruti Rishabham, Anthara Gandharam, Prathi Madhyamam, Suddha Dhaivatham and Kakali nishada.

The musician resorted to a prolonged alapana, portraying the aesthetic appeal of the raga in which compositions are not many. Praiseworthy was the descent to the lower octave that touched the mandra sthayi shadja.

Support by Mahadeva Sharma on the violin needs special mention as it was vital for the vocalist at every moment of the rendition. A demarcating feature was the copious shower of swaras, very often in bewitching triads.

The percussion trio including Thiruvarur Bhakthavatsalam (mridangam), Udupi Sreedhar (ghatam) and Kottayam Muralidharan (morsing) presented an extended tani. A stretched tani was perhaps disproportional to the total duration of the concert, but it was a deliberate attempt by the trio to make up for the short concert. While the dialogue among the three was enjoyable, the finale was ecstatic.

A visibly tired Balamurali wrapped up with his own thillana in Brindavani. The concert was organised by Perigottukara Devasthanam as part of their festival, Dakshinamoorthy Sangeethotsav.

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Printable version | Dec 14, 2019 7:28:07 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/music/veteran-balamuralikrishnas-recital-in-thrissur/article8188080.ece

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