Chennai and Tamil Nadu
Pure and traditional
Photo: Siva Saravanan
Bhagyalaksmi gave a soul-stirring recital on the veena by playing a few rare kritis of Tyagaraja and Dikshitar.
In these days when the veena sounds like the guitar, Bhagyalaksmi Chandrashekhar plays this divine instrument in the pure, traditional style, bringing out great music that touches the heart and lifts up the soul. While she has imbibed the Mudikondan
style, (She is a disciple of Mudikondan Narayanaswamy Iyer), she has also been inspired by Emani Shankara Sastry. Having spent many years in Delhi, she has been fascinated by the sarod too and has unconsciously absorbed some of its techniques. She has evolved a style of her own that is tender and touching besides being profound. If her appearance is devoid of any ostentation, so is her music. Rajalakshmi Fine Arts had organised her veena recital recently at Nani Palkhiwala Auditorium, Coimbatore.
Bhagyalaksmi began with the rare varnam in Nayaki by Kothavasal Venkataramaiyyar. After a brief alapana of Saraswathi she presented ‘Arulpuri Aingarane’ by Papanasam Sivan. Dasarapadas are usually presented as tail-end pieces in concerts. But it was a pleasant surprise to hear ‘Nenaya Baaradhe Manave Parama Paavananaa,’ a Dasarapada, in the first segment of her concert. She also embellished it with a pleasing delineation of the raga Vasanthi and lilting swaraprastharas after the niraval.
‘Maamava Meenakshi’ in Varali by Dikshitar was quiet and dignified. Then she proceeded with an elaborate delineation of Kedaragowla, following it with ‘Venugaanaloluni’ by Tyagaraja, where the poet in him overtakes the devotee. As Bhagyalakshmi went on with the niraval for the lines ‘Vikasitha Pankaja Vadhanalu,’ one could visualise Lord Krishna surrounded by the beautiful girls with faces like the fully blossomed lotus, holding hands, stealing glances and dancing gaily.
She played another rare kriti by Dikshitar, ‘Kusumaakara Shobhita’ in the rare raga, Kusumakaram, a janyam of Kosalam. ‘Seethaanaayaka, Shritajana Poshaka’ in Ritigowla (a Divyanama kirtana by Tyagaraja) and ‘Sri Guruguha Taarayaashu Maam’ by Dikshitar (Sudha Saveri, also known as Devakriya) followed briskly in quick succession.
The main piece was a leisurely RTP in Kiravani with the pallavi, ‘Vaanee, Keeravaanee, Veena Paanee, Maampaahi.’ Her authentic depiction of the raga was filled with sowkyabhava. She included many ragas in the tanam and the pallavi portion. As she wove unexpected patterns of swaras, the audience drank in the music with unwavering attention. The gamakas, brigas and the gliding swaras were a great treat. Towards the end of her concert she presented lovely kritis in the pleasant ragas Ahiri, Yamunakalyani and Karnaranjani and concluded it with a thillana and a Thiruppugazh. The experienced percussionists Chaluvaraju (mridangam) and Dayananda Mohite (ghatam) exhibited great control and provided sensitive support, never exceeding the limit.
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Chennai and Tamil Nadu