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Sound snags

Bad acoustics marred the evening with valuable time being lost.


BESIDES A few like Ravindra Bharati, the sound system arranged by some `sabhas' is notorious for their inefficiency, indifference and inadequacy. An excellent concert can be ruined and the artiste's prestige may be at stake. This is what happened on the occasion of the vocal concert of Maharajapuram Srinivasan, son of maestro, Maharajapuram Santhanam. The concert held at Hari Hara Kalabhavan was well attended but right from the word go, the microphones failed one after another in succession. Like changing horses midstream, microphones were changed from one artiste to the other after each item or midway, resulting in utter frustration for the performing artistes and sheer irritation for the listeners. It reached a point of such great repugnance that a few listeners walked out. The function brought up in memory of Santhanam proved to be a distressing affair. About 90 minutes of valuable time was lost this way, before things were reasonably well set.

Malakavari Thyagarajan was accompanied Srinivasan on the violin, on the `mridangam' by Kalladaikuruchi Shankaran and on the `morsing' by Srirangam Kannan. Srinivasan hails from the reputed `parampara' of his grandfather Maharajapuram Viswanathan that caters to the innocent pleasure of the common man as well as sustained impact of the connoisseur, a mean between unimaginative realism and imaginative reality. Enriched with lofty diction the style is clubbed with resonant music and sweet rhythm. There is neither pointless exaggeration nor unwanted emphasis. The style can "charm our ears to listening and our lips to silence." The bass voice of Srinivasan can yet be enhanced if moderate modulation is brought in. For instance, the stay at `thara shadja' is a little too vociferous and if only mellowed, the gracefulness can prove prettier. The highlight of the concert was the excellent vocal support by his son Ganesh Viswanathan. The boy doubtless is a prodigy and often has ideas more inspiring than his father.

The first few items, like the `Varnam', `Valachi Vachchi', the `Vinayaka Sthuti' in `Gowla' and the `Pancharathna' in `Naatai' were heard in fragments, either as ruptures of noise or episodes of silence due to the pitiable sound measures.

It was only when Srinivasan took up `Pantuvarali' (Aparama Bhakthi in Rupaka Thalam) that some order was restored. The Alapana was impressive and more so of the disciple, Ganesh. The handicap of the `tambura' `sruti', not being picked up by the microphones was another handicap.

The item `Abhayavarade sharade' in `Hindola' was attractive, particularly in `Swarakalpana'. `Ni bhajanagana' in `Nayaki' was a welcome item. `Naga Gandhari Raganuthe' of Dikshithar was a selection from the archives and was well received by the audience. The changeover to `Shankarabharana' was electrifying. The raga was well presented although Srinivasan's elaboration in the high octave was rather disturbingly raucous. The `kriti', `Rama ninnuvina' sounded monotonous because of the repetition of the `Rupaka thalam' as also the time measure in the major items. The emphasis of the concert was in the `raaga, tana, palavi' in `Kirvani' with `Ragamalika swarakalpana.' The accompanists felt letdown because of the bad acoustics and the playing of `morsing' was not picked up even for moments.

B.R.C. IYENGAR

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