The contrasting yet unifying strains of Carnatic and Hindustani vocal music were in full flow as veteran artistes Champa Kalkura, Pandit K. Ballesh, and Krishna Ballesh held the audience in thrall with a ‘jugalbandi’ at the Bala Kala Vidhanam auditorium on Sunday.
The Tiruchi concert was the second of a two-day billing (the first one was held at Saraswathi Vidyalaya on Saturday) and was organised by Shri Rama Gana Sabha Trust.
The evening began with a minute’s silence in homage to mandolin U. Srinivas.
Ms. Kalkura began the concert with a hymn to Lord Ganapati in raga Hamsadwani. The Hindustani side kept up the tempo ably with their rendition. Krishna Nee Begane Baro in Raga Yaman Kalyani set to Mishra Chapu came next in the Carnatic style while the Hindustani side handled it with the equivalent Raga Kalyani, and the Chota Khayal Kal Na Parey Hey Morey Aali in Teen Taal.
Ms. Kalkura was accompanied by Ambika Prasad (violin) and Koppu S. Nagarajan (mridangam) while the Hindustani vocalists were accompanied by Suresh Raj (tabla), Prakash Ballesh (harmonium), and Ravi Kumar (sitar).
A spirited jugalbandi between the mridangam and tabla artistes after the second song earned spontaneous applause from the audience.
The concert concluded with a devotional Meera Bhajan.
Champa Kalkura, managing trustee of the 23-year-old Shri Rama Gana Sabha Trust, is a noted Carnatic singer who started learning classical vocal music from Sri Srinivasa Udupa of Mangalore at the age of 8. Pandit Ballesh hails from a family of shehnai maestros, and is a student of the late Ustad Bismillah Khan.
His first solo concert was held when he was 13 and today he can boast a career that spans five decades.
On Sunday, he and his son (and student) Krishna Ballesh showcased the songs chosen for the evening.
Krishna Ballesh specialises in the Patiala, Kirana, and Gwalior gharanas, and sings ghazals.