MUSICSCAN M.V. Ramakrishnan

Artistic bond

‘Carnatica Cousins' may well have been the joint title adopted by classical vocalists Shashikiran and Ganesh, if that hadn't tended to clash with ‘Colonial Cousins,' the intriguing brand name of the Indo-pop musicians Hariharan and Leslie Lewis. In the event, the actual cousins opted for ‘Carnatica Brothers' -- which was perhaps quite appropriate, because it's a true indication of the very strong artistic bond which exists between them and enables them to achieve a high degree of co-ordination and excellence.

Being endowed with almost equally powerful voices with similar timbre, the partners do run the risk of causing an overload. But they synchronise their singing so sensitively that their voices blend well when rendering the lyrics together, and flow smoothly on the same imaginative track when they improvise alternately.

The duo's earnest and forceful performance in the simple spiritual setting at Amarabharati, in Tiruvanmiyur, this past week, was characterised by an authentic touch of classicism, reinforced by excellent support from the accompanists -- M.A. Sundareswaran (violin), Thanjavur Murugabhoopathy (mridangam) and N. Guruprasad (ghatam). The concert brought back vivid memories of past masters and their performances, particularly the Alathur Brothers.

Classical flavour

The most substantial parts of the recital were the Tyagaraja kritis ‘Siva Siva Siva' and ‘Raama Neeyeda', the preceding raga elaborations (Pantuvarali and Karaharapriya), and the ensuing swara improvisations. Sandwiched between these numbers was Chitravina Ravikiran's composition, ‘Saravanabhava' in Bilahari, which sounded very classical too!

It is well known that Ravikiran is not only the finest exponent of the chitravina, but also gives vocal recitals occasionally, as he did in this very venue a few months ago. That concert too had an authentic old-world flavour, the highlights being the Dikshitar songs, ‘Seshachala Naayakam,' and ‘Meenakshi Memudam,' in the ragas Varaali and Poorvikalyani respectively.

On that occasion he was accompanied effectively by Guruvayur Dorai (mridangam), Akkarai Subbulakshmi (violin), and Sree Sunder Kumar (ganjira). In the weighty and reposeful quality of the music of the Carnatica Brothers and their brother/cousin Ravikiran (whether he sings or plays the chitravina), one can trace the profound influence of that unique teacher of Carnatic music, Brindamma, and also the stern discipline induced by their father/uncle Chitravina Narasimhan.

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Printable version | Aug 6, 2021 3:20:32 AM |

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