It was a mixed bag of sound and fury, occasionally over-soft or extra-subtle.
Photo: R. Ravindran
The intentional respite in the busy month must have energised T.M. Krishna. His concert was overflowing with it. With two rather normal deliveries, one of which was a Tiruppavai paasuram in Kalyani, the major part of Krishna's concert was out to establish his brand of music that turned out to be a mixed bag of sound and fury and at times, over soft or extra-subtle.
Manodharma seemed to be at its peak for Krishna that evening. But then he is also a great show man. He does not look at a kriti or raga, the normal way; that is rather mundane business for him. So he tried to delve deep into every line to tap the existing or non-existing nuances of a kriti like ‘Enda Vedu Kondu' in Saraswathi Manohari. The song was extended in all possible forms. The line ‘Chinta Deerchuta' was chosen for niraval with the addition of kalpanaswara.
Naari Ritigowla was presented in detail. Ritigowla with a tinge of Saramati sounded well as Krishna was following the normal style of alapana. But once he set his voice and mind on research, the path turned incredible. He offered a full analysis of the raga and his presentation of the Dikshitar kriti, ‘Sri Neelothpala Nayike' carried an overdose of reverence.
Mayamalavagowla was the next target. Here also the raga exposition was dramatic, full of extraordinary overtures on phrases from the soft and subtle to the loud in tara stayi to abysmal depths of mandara and even anumandara stayi. Well, Krishna's range of voice and his ability to exploit it is admirable. But should it not be more organised and kept within acceptable decibels? Without of course, stifling or suppressing his manodharma.
The Tyagaraja kriti, ‘Devi Sri Tulasamma,' started off in a relaxed fashion including several sangatis embroidered. But that proved to be a brief respite. The niraval on the last line, ‘Sarievvare Tyagarajanutha Maha,' to put it in a nutshell, was nothing but overkill.
Well, as mentioned earlier, Krishna's brand of music goes down well with the eager audience that always looks for something novel. The vocal calisthenics, sudden explosions, deliberate voice modulations and surreal sangatis all attract his fans. The houseful auditorium and the applause he received for such over statements were definite markers of his popularity. In which case, this sort of review/criticism would sound preposterous and subjective.
Krishna's constant companions - R.K. Sriramkumar (violin), K. Arunprakash (mridangam) and B.S. Purushothaman (ganjira) were just props in this one-man show.
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