FRIDAY REVIEW

Thin and diluted

AN IMPRESSION has been created that thinning the voice, almost to a fade-out, particularly in the top shadja and above contributes to mellowness. This practice is mainly to be noticed among women artistes. Does it mean that open-throatedness and tonal sweetness are incompatible?

Vocal constriction in fact results in making the exposition anaemic, imagined softness of touch gained at the expense of the grandeur and depth of the items sung. Narrower the vocal lines, music's flow becomes unsmooth. Today, a musician's forte to claim audience acclaim is the tarasthayi sancharas in raga alapanas. The sangatis in songs in the top octave are few. So if the voice is tuned to flimsiness of sound, how can the technique pay rich dividend?

Another premise is that when the voice is contrived to be thin, the rakti of ragas and the emotional contents of kirtanas are enhanced. Ragas and kirtanas have inherent beauty which does not depend on the flimsiness of vocal expression. When this approach to cutcheri presentation is the motivation of a performing artiste, what does it matter what song is chosen in the programme?

Seetha Rajan's recital at the TTD Information Centre was built mainly on tenderness of interpretation. The graces of the ragas Begada, Sama and Dharmavathy were deprived of their loftiness by the way she deployed her voice. Over-emphasis on delicacy stimulated the direction of her manodharma. What stood her in good stead was the good patantara of the kirtanas - `Manasu - karuga' (Hamsadwani) `Teliyaleru' (Dhenuka) "Anudinamunu" (Begada) "Maravakave" (Sama). The music in general was decent and decorous. But for the violinist Amrita Murali her solo versions in tune lacked exuberance. For Arun Prakash (mridangam) it was just enough to perform his role with over-gentle tekas with very little of sparkling teermanams even at the conclusion of each song.

SVK