The golden voice
Sangeetha Kalanadhi R. Vedavalli took melody to new heights.
Photo: V. Ganesan
South Indian Cultural Association (SICA) has been religiously holding memorial concerts of Vinjamuri Varadaraja Iyengar, since his demise in 1999, with the assistance of the musician’s family. Most of the vocalists who are invited are senior musicians, who either know Iyengar directly or have full knowledge of the late musician’s contribution. Invariably, they include one or two compositions of this late veteran composer-vocalist, in their repertoire.
R.Vedavalli of Chennai who gave concert on the opening day of this year’s two-day memorial festival held at Ravindra Bharathi, opened with Varadaraja Iyengar’s Ghanaraga malika varnam with swarakalpana in each of the respective Ghana ragas. Vedavalli, as many would know, is a Sangeetha Kalanidhi of Madras Music Academy and is on various expert committees too. No wonder, she took time to set her aging voice in order and once she did it, the concert gained momentum.
By the time she reached a stage of presenting a ragaalapana of Pantuvarali as her firstraga effort, her voice was well settled and even the mike system that made her voice sound subdued earlier was corrected. In the latter composition she presented neraval right in the pallavi part that was reflective of her vast experience. The rendition of Chalamelara O Raghava in Marga Hindolam was in itself an example for her expression of bhava of the composition. After a rare number Brovavamma Tamasamele in Maanji ragam, a composition of Shyama Sastry, she went for the main raga of the evening Chamaram (also known as Shanmukhapriya in Thyagaraja school) for Dikshitar’s composition Ekambreswara Nayakeem. She took the melody to new heights with a matured voice andyouthful verve.
Vedavalli was accompanied by her disciple Sumathi. Both the young accompanists Charumati Ramachandran on violin and K.Sivakumar on mridangam were as sensitive and subdued as her vocal expression and as commanding as her manoeuvres, understanding the niceties of her expression and giving relief when needed.
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