Reflection of the Trinity's melodies

SRI KRISHNA Gana Sabha conducted for the whole day the Trinity Jayanti Utsavam enabled by an endowment by P. Obul Reddi. In the evening concert, Vasundhara Rajagopal used her rich clear voice with all its faculties to convey the excellence of the kritis of Tyagaraja, Muthuswamy Dikshitar and Syama Sastri.

The programme was not just a list of raga alapanas and songs but a reflection of the refined melodies incorporated by the Trinity in their compositions, which she rendered.

In this genre were "Marivere" (Ananda Bhairavi), "Seshachala Nayakam" (Varali) and "E Vidamula" (Sankarabharanam) as major items. The alapanas of Ananda Bhairavi and Sankarabharanam were not merely the fluency of her voice but the creative process that contributed to the vibrant vistas of those two ragas. Varali was elaborated at great length but could have been clipped to relevant sancharas without affecting its aesthetics. The Chintamani song of Syama Sastri, "Devi Brova Samayamide" provided the soothing touch. The characteristic features of Vasundhara's music were soft lyricism and sensitive tonal modulation, particularly in the tara sthyai.

Violinist B. U. Ganesh Prasad, in his solo sessions of raga alapanas, linked himself to the thinking process of the vocalist. Manoj Siva (mridangam) played pulsating beats to add pep to the articulation of songs.

With a free-flowing voice ensuring charming expressiveness, Nisha Rajagopal who has made her mark in a long line of talented young artistes is nearing the popular enclosure. Singing for Gana Mukunda Priya, her performing style was smooth, confident and successful. In her alapanas of Kedaragowla and Karaharapriya, she showed good vocal management. She saw to it that she struck a balance between what a listener expects without diluting the quality of presentation and what would uphold the dignity of the concert. The kirtanas, "Venugana" (Kedaragowla), "Rama Neeyada" (Karaharapriya) and "Kanchadalaya" (Kamalamanohari) emphasised the latter aspect.

The two earlier items, "Tatvamariya" (Ritigowla) and "Satru Vilagi" (Poorvikalyani) served the appetisers for the later part of the programme. There was in her recital the pride of achievement and pleasure of rasikas' reception. Satish Kumar was the violinist whose support was robust. Balaji (mridangam) and K. V. Gopalakrishnan (kanjira) presented glittering laya patterns.

The appeal of music gets enhanced when vocal felicity gives shape to the artiste's manodharma. Its absence made the performance of Gayatri Dhur fall short of impressiveness. She has a sound kirtana foundation as she rendered the songs, "Sambho Mahadeva" (Pantuvarali with a short alapana), "Eppadi Manam" (Huseni), "Devi Tava Pada" (Sahana) and "Manasu Swaadina" (Sankarabharanam). The alapana lines of Sahana and Sankarabharanam were traditional in content.

Anantakrishnan (violin) was highly exhibitionistic in his solo session. Lack of design and direction led him to switch suddenly to the tara sthayi for one or two sancharas and descend abruptly to the mandhara sthayi. This was the regular feature of his alapana pattern. Thanjavur Kumar's mridangam accompaniment was to the point.

The performance of Ragam Sisters Sivaranjani and Nalinakanti for the Tirupati Devasthanam Information Centre was a mixture of some good aspects of music and some deficiencies too. Mainly, they resorted to contrivance of voice to feign mellowness, which robbed their exposition of a feeling of depth. No doubt, such an use helped a smooth ascent and descent. The kritana patantara was very respectable. In raga alapanas of Aarabhi, Abhogi and Sankarabharanam the falseness of the voice resulted in chinks in the notes. If they open out their vocal articulation their presentation would gain weightage.

The kirtana list included "Swaminaatha" (Nattai), "Naada Sudha" (Aarabhi), "Sri Lakshmi Varaaham" (Abhogi), "Sri Venkatagirisam" (Suruti) and "Swara Raga" (Sankarabharanam). It is this good song selection that registered in the mind. V. V. Srinivasa Rao was the violin accompanist whose play had warmth and sincerity. His brief alapana in his solo session covered the essentials. Madippakkam Suresh on the mridangam adopted frugal simplicity to his pattern that provided the desired support. A. S. Krishnan (morsing) interlaced the mridangam solkattus with ringing tones. — SVK

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