Veterans emulated in style


IN UNISON: It was a full fledged concert that the teenagers presented. Photo M. Karunakaran.

IN UNISON: It was a full fledged concert that the teenagers presented. Photo M. Karunakaran.  

Sulochana Pattabhiraman, distinguished vidhushi, is long familiar to the connoisseur as a teacher, senior artiste of All India Radio and a respected critic of the arts. But in recent years, her musical forays as a conductor are fast gaining reputation for breaking new ground.

On the occasion of M. S. Subbulakshmi's 89th birthday, Pattabhiraman's young disciples gave a brilliant performance at the Hamsadhwani.

The ensemble of vocalists and instrumentalists brought a refreshing new dimension to the solos and duets that are still the norm in the kutcheri format. Dharini, Ragini and Lakshmi, the three vocalists challenged the sceptic who may think that an orchestral performance could never be adopted into the Carnatic style without compromising on melody and harmony.

From the outset, there was ample evidence of the exerting standards of a kutcheri. The opener was Muthaiah Bhagavatar's most formidable daruvu in raagam Khamas (more demanding than the Bhairavi and other Ata tala varnams).

Few would expect children in their early teens to perform without floundering through the lengthy passages of swaram.

When they commenced `Jagadanandakaraka,' there was no mistaking (whether the janabandi at the rear cared to take note or not) that this was the beginning of a full-fledged kutcheri. Kritis of the stature of `O Rangasayee' and `Birana brova ide' followed thereafter. In their delivery, Pattabhiraman seemed to underscore the motivation and purpose behind her novel attempt at demonstrating that a group could present complex `sangatis' in synchrony.

Indeed, singing in unison is a good verification of an exact reproduction of the sangati. The selection of bhajans, abhangs and Sanskrit devotionals such as Madhurashtakam and Sivapanchakshari captured the mood of the moment. The melodious notes of M. S. Ananthakrishnan and Lalgudi Samyuktha, both on the violin blended with Girishkumar's flute. Srivatsan and Harishkumar took turns on the mridangam while Chandrasekhara Sarma accompanied them on the ghatam.

It was remarkable that Pattabhiraman brought together a line up of young artistes — mostly from families of veteran musicians for the concert.

Yet, that in no way undermines the sheer love of labour involved in putting together a show of this complexity.

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