Friday Review

Series of musical highs

Trichur Brothers Photo: K.K. Najeeb

Trichur Brothers Photo: K.K. Najeeb   | Photo Credit: K.K.NAJEEB

‘Aathirothsavam’ in Thrissur featured vocal and instrumental concerts that explored the nuances of Carnatic music and showcased the musical sensibilities of the artistes



Five Carnatic music recitals were the main attraction of the ‘Aathirothsavam’ at Sree Vadakkunnathan Temple, Thrissur.

A. K. C. Natarajan

He was instrumental in introducing the Western instrument clarinet to the Carnatic music stage. The musician enthralled the audience with his mastery over the instrument, especially his effortless playing of gamakas. High-pitched rendition of ‘Vathapi ganapathim’ entailed quite a few sangatis in the line ‘Bhuthadi Samsevitha’.

Nagaswaram support by Bangalore Ganesh in the lower octave made the rendering more appealing. The swaraprasthara was long and enjoyable.

Percussion interludes by Manikandan and Vijayakumar on the tavil enhanced the musicality of the Karnataka Behag composition of Tyagaraja, ‘Nenenthu vedakudura.’ A short alaap preceded the Atana composition ‘Ela nee dayaradu’ also in Adi, and by the same composer.

The much sought-after Abheri number ‘Nagumomu ganaleli’, the main composition for the evening, received a short description, mainly in the low pitch. The dialogue between the tavils in the tani was mesmerising. ‘Bhogindra sayanam’ (Swati, Kunatalavarali, khanta chap) and ‘Alaipayuthe’ (Oothukkad Venkitasubramania Iyer, Kanada, Adi) after Syama raga, was a sweet introduction for ‘Manasa sancharare’. The octogenarian musician wound up with ‘Bho, Sambho’, a composition of Swamy Dayananda Saraswathi in Revathy.

Trichur Brothers

The Trichur Brothers, Sreekrishnan Mohan and Ramkumar Mohan, performed a soulful concert. Their varnam ‘Omkarapranava’ in Shanmughapriya highlighted their musical sensibility. Abundant sangatis and quick succession of swaras rendered individually made ‘Vathapi’ quite interesting. Neelakanta Sivan’s ‘Ananda natamaduvar tillai’ in Poorvikalyani, set to Roopakam, was sung neatly. A Malayalam composition in Reetigowla, ‘Ashtapadi layam thulumbunna,’ was a welcome change. The audience once again revelled in ‘Bho Sambho’ in Revathy but in a different format.

There were prolonged tanams and the rendition was inspiring. Surprisingly, the main raga was also a repeat of the previous day: Abheri, ‘Nagumomu’. While the elaboration set off by Sreekrishnan was exhaustive, Ramkumar complemented it with alluring phrases thereby unfolding the manifold hues of the raga. Thrissur Mohan proved how the tani could be made more attractive with soft and short tala cycles and Kovai Suresh responded quite appropriately to this technique. V.V. Ravi accompanied on the violin.

The post-main comprised excerpts from Jnanapana and ‘Enna palimcho Karunakara’, a Purandaradasa composition in Behag. Winding up of the concert by offering a garland of ragas to Siva and Parvathy, which included Darbari Kannada, Madhuvanthi, Behag, Sahana and Sindhubhairavi, was an appropriate choice that was in tune with the occasion and the venue.

Akkarai Sisters

A three-hour vocal recital by Akkarai Sisters Subhalakshmi and Swarnalatha was highly synchronised, proof of their stage experience over the past two decades. Swati’s Mayamalavagoula composition ‘Deva deva kalayamithe’ in Roopakam followed the varnam. With excellent support from Viju Anand (violin), K. Jayakrishnan (mridangam), Vellattanjur Sreejith (ghatam) and Payyannur Govinda Prasad (morsing), one could experience singular laya in its presentation.

Swarnalatha came up with an in-depth elaboration of Latangi. After a short Paras, ‘Alaavathennalo’ of Oothukkadu Venkata Kavi, Subhalakshmi took Kumudakriya for elaboration. The tara sthayi notes very often bordered on the next octave.

‘Paramapurusha’ , a fast and short Swati number in Vasantha, preceded the main raga, Todi. The flamboyance of ‘Koluva maregada’ in Adi was beyond description as it lasted for almost one hour. The tani led by Jayakrishnan was joyful with suitable embellishments by Sreejith and Govindaprasad.

‘Viswesaru’ (Swati, Sindhubhairavi, Roopakam) and ‘Govardhanagiridhara’ (Narayanatheertha, Darbarikannada, Adi) followed before the tillana in Bindumalini.

R. Kumaresh

His violin recital showed his dexterity as a vocalist and composer too. A sweet Mohanam followed the varnam with a surfeit of swaras in both octaves. ‘Anandanatana prakasam’, a Kedaram composition of Dikshitar in Misra chap, was crisp and melodic.

His own composition in Hamsanadam was arranged in Chaturasrajathi madya tala. Dhenuka was portrayed through ‘Theliyaleru Rama’, a Tyagaraja composition in Adi. The adroitness of his style of playing while essaying Kamboji, the main raga, suggested the invisible presence of a supporting violin. But its rendition depended too much on kanakku, which appeared counterproductive to the melody. The composition was ‘Thiruvadi saranam’ of Gopalakrishna Bharati. R. Sankaranarayanan (mridangam) and Trichy Krishna (ghatam) tagged a suitable tani to it. While playing ‘Mahadeva Sivasambho’, the musician seemed so much involved in Revathy that he sang a charanam in full. The tillana in Dwijavanthi was also his own.

C.S. Anuroop

The violinist’s concert was unique as he employed western musical instruments including keyboard, bass guitar, rhythm guitar and jazz drums. Even as one could look at it as fusion, Anuroop adhered strictly to the Carnatic format. He began with ‘Mahaganapathim’ in Natta. The number appeared very rich in melody, played as it was against the backdrop of sustained harmonic drone from the keyboard, supplemented by the rhythm guitar.

The similarities of Natta and the next one Bhupalam to the minor scale of Western music made it easy for these instruments to follow. ‘Gopalaka pahimam’ was the selection for Bhoopalam. When it came to ‘Ksheera sagara sayana’ in Devagandhari, the harmony appeared more pronounced as the raga was a janya of Sankarabharanam, the major scale. The same was the case of Neelambari, ‘Madhava mamava’ of Narayana Theertha and Kurinji, ‘Muddugare Yasoda’.

It was interesting to hear the guitar playing aarohana and avarohana notes of Hindolam (‘Samaja vara gamana’) as Anuroop essayed the raga. Even as K. M. S. Mani (mridangam) and Tripunithura Radhakrishnan (ghatam) presented an inspiring tani, the guitars and drums supplemented their efforts with restraint.

‘Veera virata’ was quite befitting the Athira season. Anuroop wound up with a few raga-based devotional film songs such as ‘Kutajadriyil’, ‘Souparnikamrita’ and ‘Ambalappuzhe unni kannanodu’.

The concerts were organised by Vadakkunnathan Kshetra Kshema Samithy.

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Printable version | May 29, 2020 7:35:51 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/series-of-musical-highs/article6808220.ece

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