Sleek on traditional lines

THE TRUTH that if a musician, true to his profession, sings Tyagaraja songs, his mind automatically gets attuned to real traditional musical values was re- emphasised in the performance of O.S. Thiagarajan for the Ariyakudi Music Foundation. The thought of that great vidwan perhaps inspired Thiagarajan to sing in a row ``Entarani'' (Harikambhoji), ``Appa Rama Bhakti'' (Pantuvarali) ``Hechcharikagaa raara'' (Yadukula Kambhoji) which achieved two objectives - to lift the cutcheri to musical liveliness and the other to what extent Ariyakudi's fame as a margadarsi in framing a cutcheri still holds good.

Knowingly or unknowingly Thiagarajan straightaway began the Harikambhoji kirtana instead of wallowing in an unrewarding alapana. When the song with the structural finesse embroidered with thrilling sangati helped the vocalist to take the right, impressive track, his neraval pattern for the line ``Aagamoktamagu-nee-gunamulu'' was in perfect harmony with Harikambhoji's musical motion compelling rapt attention. M. Sundareswaran (violinist) touched the power of the strings to make a spontaneous offer to match the pace of the vocalist. Not to be left behind, Neyveli Narayanan (mridangam) taking with him the ghatam artiste, S. V. Ramani, peppered the sangati of the song and the neraval lines with a spell of spicy rhythmic mosaic.

The Pantuvarali alapana which came next moved, coiled and wound continuously with brigas. Brevity lent charm to the vistara and the song, ``Appa Rama Bhakti'', should have opened the eyes of the musician that obesity either in alapana, neraval or swaraprastharas is not a mark of true vidwat. Similarly the Yadukulakambhoji kirtana, ``Yechcharikagaa-raara', was tendered without alapana or swaras and the emotional sentiments in the song got prominence in the slow tempo in which he rendered it. In effect, the vocalist, violinist and the percussion artiste made it a sleek performance.

It seems it is a season for accompanists crossing floors to become vocalists. It appears to be a recognition of the privacy of vocal music. In this shift from poorvaasrama, R.K. Sri Ram Kumar, in the company of Mullaivasal Chandramouli (violin) and Vijaya Siva (mridangam) gave a concert under the auspices of Musiri chamber music. Well, Sri Ram Kumar's experience as a violin accompanist has given him an insight into the requirements of a performance, but taking suddenly to a new role certainly put strains, his manodharma overtaking his expressive capacity. But the very limitation served a beneficial musical purpose - brevity and a sense of proportion dictated by the behaviour of the voice. In this respect his Poorvikalyani and Sankarabharanam raga alapanas drew strength on essential sancharas, but it was Chandramouli's solo version on the violin which gave aesthetic precision to the ragas. Sri Ram Kumar could feel the pressure on his voice as the cutcheri progressed. If he is very serious about taking to vocal music, he would do well to spare more hours to home work. Vijaya Siva on the mridangam presented an enlivening tani avartanam. The programme included ``Intaparaaka'' (Mayamalavagowla) ``Saraseeruhaanana'' (Mukhari) `Ninnu-vinaaga'' (Poorvikalyani) and ``Emi-neramu'' (Sankarabharanam).

Narada Gana Sabha presented C. B. Ramanarayanan, accompanied on the violin by C.A. Rajasekhar, and on the mridangam by Kumbakonam Saravanan. Voice modulation rendered his interpretative technique free from stridency and with extra effort he strove to make his communicative skill effective. With some exaggeration in rendering songs, Ramanarayanan framed his concert on the items ``Jaya Jaya Swamini'' (Nattai) ``Merusamana'' (Mayamalavagowla) ``Muruga, Tirumal Maruga'' (Harikambhoji) and ``Sambho Mahadeva'' (Pantuvarali). Though his music did not rise to great heights, the simplicity was pleasantly pleasing. The violin accompaniment was far from satisfactory. The support that the mridangist gave with continuous melkala rhythmic pattern contributed to the tempo of the concert.

Bombay sisters, Saroja and Lalita, were in an inspiring mood to give of their best, but earlier the long speech session which forced nearly half the audience to leave the hall acted as a dampener.

But still, the item `Suma Sayaka' the Kapi varnam of Swati Tirunal gave an exquisite start to the recital followed by the equally vibrant Hamsadwani kirtana ''Moolaadhara-moorthe``. ''Brovavamma`` (Manji) was reposeful. Poorvikalyani raga alapana and song ''Gnanamosagarada`` lent distinction to their performing pleasantness. Usha Rajagopalan evoked on the violin eloquent rich tone and the raga lines of Poorvikalyani came out with an impeccably clean image. K. R. Ganesh (mridangam) and N. Govindarajan (ghatam) gave meaningful but restrained rhythmic support.