Sathiraju Venumadhav is now an established Carnatic vocalist of high standard, blessed with melody filled vocal verve of astounding range. His concert arranged at Saptaparni, last week by as part f the Continuum series presented by Ananda Shankar Jayanth was one of his best. He was accompanied by Kolanka Saikumar on violin and a young mridangam artiste Ramakrishna.
Opening with Dr. Sripada Pinakapani’s musical composition of Annamayya kirtana Vandeham Jagadvallabham was in a way an exemplary for his paying tributes to the maestro and serving as an ode to Lord Venkateswara, presenting swaras to which he gave good time exercising himself.
Venumadhav then chose Thyagaraja kirtana Teliyaleru Rama Bhaktimargamu in Dhenuka. Then he went for Sri Sankaraguruvaram in Nagaswaravali of Mahavaidyanadha Iyer. It was an experience to listen to the well set swaras at two places. He gave raga picture briefly and then proceeded to the kirtana. Yevarani Nirnayinchirira of Thyagaraja in Devamruthavarshini, was a fine rendition especially in lines Sivudavo, Madhavaduavo .
This was followed by the main melody of the concert Lathangi for Aparadhamulanniyu Manninchi ’ of Patnam. His pristine ragaalapana captured quintessential flavour taking convenient course of apt gamakas doing the talking and gave a pleasant end. His ascendance to the higher octaves, where he displayed the beauty of his high pitched vocal output and then in contrast in a few seconds he came down to Anumandra the lowest, covering almost three plus octaves. I
t was forceful rendition with breezy spells in between.
The violinist’s raga delineation his own pleasing version with fantastic birkas, some short and some breathtaking long spells.
Venumadhav’s another notable trait is to render with perfect sahitya clarity and hence the kriti was enjoyable for its sahitya import, highlighted at the nereval part Vega Nannu Brovamani addressing Venkatesa. This heralded kalpanaswara passages.
His loyalty to shruti was laudable. And the way he toned down and then reached upper octaves at right places creating proper mood was indeed a pleasurable setting. The swaras were in variegated rhythmic patterns. The tani avartanam by mridangam artiste Ramakrishna at this stage was a show of brilliance in each of its cycles.
Venumadhav concluded with another Sanskrit number of Annamayya Abho Sadhutamagamanam in Mukhari. The very take off of the kirtana covering the entire raga scale was simply brilliant.