Music & Dance Friday Review

Hidden layers

Suguna Varadhachari at Sri Parthasarathy Swami Sabha. Photo: K.V. Srinivasan   | Photo Credit: K_V_Srinivasan

Experience creates knowledge and expertise. In Suguna Varadachari’s music, one can perceive its most important dimension - depth. That is because she appreciates the wealth of imagination, sublime thought and the variety of emotions that lie hidden in the many familiar compositions.

The ‘Sukhi Evaro’ (Kanada) of Tyagaraja that she rendered lingered in my mind. Her rendition was in the Brinda style, serene and tranquil.

K. Arun Prakash’s mridangam provided a feather touch support, enhancing its gentle charm. Her elaborate exploration of Sankarabharanam had every element of its majesty, with a constant undercurrent of its unmatched melody. On the violin, Ranjani Ramakrishnan didn’t lag behind. Suguna rendered Dikshitar’s masterpiece ‘Akshayalinga Vibho’ in a relaxed misra chapu. Arun Prakash further embellished the madhyamakala segment (Daksha Sikshana) by just providing subtle beats to wherever the syllable ‘ksha’ occurred. That showed the vidwan’s familiarity with sahitya!

In thani, Arun Prakash played a few attractive misra phrases in thisra nadai. Harihara Sarma (ganjira), who had provided able support throughout, opened up with a few lovely korvais.

RTP in Keeravani followed. The pallavi, ‘Madhavan Maamaayan Vaikuntan,’ set to chathusra triputai in khanda nadai was gorgeously woven. In the ragamalika swaras, she rendered Ravichandrika and Varamu, while her disciples Aishwarya Shankar and Vidya Kalyanaraman joined in with Lalitha and Hamsanandi. The beauty of the ragamalika was that all sequences ended with the swaraksharas ‘ma’ ‘dha’ in Madhavan!

Earlier, the Kedaragowla varnam provided an apt beginning to the classical treat offered by Suguna. In ‘Apparamabhakthi’ (Pantuvarali-Rupakam) of Tyagaraja, she rendered niraval at pallavi itself. Gopalakrishna Bharathi’s ‘Vandhalum Varattum’ in Hindolam was short, sweet and spellbinding.

The concert concluded with Oothukkadu’s Khamas’ composition ‘Naan Enna Thavam Seytheno’ and Puchi Iyengar’s lilting Thodi thillana. On the whole, it was educative and entertaining.

The best sort of music is what it should be – sacred, said Coleridge. In fact the very conception of Carnatic music has been spiritual. Behind the melody of Tyagaraja, is a treasure of sublime thought. So it was hard to believe that the young artist, Aishwarya Vidya Raghunath, could elaborate like a veteran, ‘Swararaga Sudha’ (Sankarabharanam) so eloquently. In the niraval, she could musically split the words ‘Mula Adhara.’ The Semmangudi style was clearly evident in her swaraprasthara, especially in ‘pa.pa.madhadhapamagama.’

Earlier in the alapana, she succeeded in portraying the grandeur of the raga. In course of time, she will improve further her command over the subtleties of the raga.

On the violin, Trivandrum N. Sampath, son and disciple of Prof. K Chandrika Devi, gave her ample support. He is an asset to any artist. In the thani, the left handed Salem Srinivasan, a disciple of Tiruchi Thayumanavan, produced a few special korvais. His tisra nadai was innovative.

The ease with which Aishwarya is able to elucidate ragas was evident in her Durbar, Sahana and Saveri. Tyagaraja’s ‘Yochana Kamala Lochana,’ was exquisite, especially the swaraprasthara. But a word of caution, too much speed should be shunned. Even before one could assimilate, ‘Kechana Nijabhaktha’, she had reached ‘vimochana gala!’ Durbar swaraprasthara was well-conceived and beautifully executed.

Sahana elucidation witnessed several lovely, gliding phrases. Patnam Subramanya Iyer’s ‘Rama Ika Nannu’ was exquisite. The extensive swaraprasthara, enriched the kriti and here also, Sampath excelled. Periyasami Thooran’s ‘Muruga Muruga’ (misra chapu), the chosen kriti in Saveri was full of devotional fervour.

While a pleasing rendering of the Begada varnam marked the commencement of her vibrant recital, Aishwarya concluded it with Swati Tirunal’s melodic Malayalam padam, ‘Jalaja Bandhuvumiha.’

(ramakrishnan.h@gmail.com)


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Printable version | Dec 4, 2021 8:53:45 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/suguna-varadachari-aishwarya-vidya-raghunath-review/article6704369.ece

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