Friday Review

Rhythmic extravaganza

The duet Dolo concert by Srilankan percussionist RVS Srikanth and Kalaimamani Swamipalli E. Gurunathan was a recital to remember

It is not often that one can feast on an aesthetic treat in an environment that is steeped in historical grandeur and sanctity. When the occasion is one of revering two such musical giants, every detail of the event must resonate with the regal stature of their musical contributions. The Purandara and Tyagaraja Aradhana held in the premises of the Vasantha Vallabharaya and Bhavani Shankara temples of Vasanthapura lived to its reputation of maintaining the sanctity and decorum of a traditional event that dates back to the 70s. The Vasantha Vallabharaya temple, built during the Chola dynasty, more than 600 years old has been witness to the musical obeisance to the two giants of Carnatic music for four decades now.

The Aradhana Mahotsava brings together several musicians par excellence to Bhavani Shankar temple where the idol of Sri Tyagaraja has been duly consecrated and installed. On 8 January, there was a unique Dolu duet concert performed by R.V.S. Srikanth, a reputed artist from Sri Lanka aptly called “Laya gana Arasu” and Kalaimamani Swamipalli E. Gurunathan. Assisting the duo on the tala was Venkataswami. Their splendid rendition set the tone for the evening through their thundering notes. Deftly coordinated, both Srikanth’s and Gurunathan’s performances shone brightly in their own stead as well as together. The open air surrounding aided in providing the right setting for exploring the intricacies of an instrument such as Dolu that would not have been possible in a closed auditorium. The two were well in sync and as Srikanth later explained: “It needs tremendous effort and capability to do a duet concert on Dolu. It is absolutely important for the two performing artists to be equally matched; else the overall quality of the rendition will suffer. Gurunathan is an accomplished artist and it is always a great pleasure to perform with him.” Explaining the reception he has received in India, he continues: “In India, people who attend music concerts are knowledgeable and are aware of the intricacies of music – especially Carnatic. It is an honour to perform to such audiences and I am heartened by the love and respect showered on me.” Gurunathan echoes the feelings, “Performing with Srikanth is always a pleasure. We have been giving Dolu duet concerts for several years now and it is always an exhilarating experience because there is always some improvisation and surprise that we try to bring in to each performance that makes the whole experience energetic not only for the audience but also for ourselves as well. ”

Following the Dolu concert, was a series of well interweaved Dasa compositions. These were rendered through instrumental ensemble as well as group performers. Famous compositions of Purandara Dasa such as “Aacharavillada Naalige” were deftly rendered on the Veena by Vid. Pushpa Kashinath. Pt. Ravindra Katoti played the composition – “Moorutiyane niliso” immortalised by the legendary Pt. Bhimsen Joshi. Noted singers Supriya Raghunandan, Surekha, Mangala Ravi and group sang songs that were set to tune by noted composers Mysore Ananthaswamy and C. Ashwath.

“Taarakka Bindige” and “Daari yaavudayya” brought back the memories of these two giants of Kannada light music. The group rendition directed by Tirumale Srinivas rendered an apt and interesting composition well suited to the season - “Avare kaaybeku”.

The evening was dotted with music that continued late into night ending with the captivating performance of Pt. Gopal Burman and Pt. Madhusudhan Burman on Srikhol and tabla respectively. Noted keyboard artist Shabbir Ahmed, flautist Mahesh Swamy and tabla player Venugopal Swamy were also the accompanists for the evening.

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Printable version | May 26, 2020 3:36:16 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/rhythmic-extravaganza/article6811842.ece

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