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Acoustics heightens stridency

A HOST of cloth banners in different shades and names receive the audience in the small hall. The Chennai December music season demands more halls and auditoria for their innumerable concert series.

An obscure hall like the ``Swami's Hall" on the fourth floor of an office building is the venue for the concert series of another outfit Sri Ranjani Trust and Rasika Ranjani Bhaktha Samajam Welfare Foundation.

When Anuradha Suresh Krishnamurthy started her vocalconcert one could count the number of grey heads in thehall. However, it picked up as the concert progressed.

There is a difference between full-throated singing and loud singing. Unfortunately, on that day, Anuradha seemed to have opted for the latter. The miserable audio system and the obviously poor acoustics of the hall accentuated the loudness at higher octaves. The makeshift arrangement did not seem to help. Anuradha's Begada alapana carried clipped phrasings.

Her rendition of ``Kadaikkan Vaithennai" composition and her niraval and swara at ``Santhatham pugazhndu koora" were more commanding than pleading. Comparatively, her Kalyani vinyasa was more fluid and the seldom heard ``Neethu charana pankajamula" was better. But, the elaboration at ``Om Jagajjanani Manonmani" again followed the strident path.

R. Hemalatha is a faithful youngster and she did not lag behind Anuradha in the authoritative tenor. Trivandrum Vaidyanathan's percussion was sharp and his thani with Papanasam Sethuraman on the Kanjira was almost like Diwali crackers.

A mellowed down Anuradha could be heard only in the tukkadas in her Darbari Kanada and BehagNeyveli Narayanan (mridangam) and Mayavaram Somu (kanjira) were part of this team.

Subtle veena

It is sad that there is such poor response for a resourceful and sonorous instrument like the veena. All vainikas, irrespective of their vidwat get a raw deal.

Though the crowd was thin and the women kept chatting loudly, this critic could relish the soft and subdued Hamirkalyani of P. Vasanthakumar's veena. He plays the instrument with conviction and humility. His exposition of Hamirkalyani (``Sri Venkatasaila") was subtle and soporific, how real music has to be. Perhaps he should have chosen a few boisterous items. ``Parulanna mata" (Kapi), 'Yadavaraya' (Ragamalika), 'Dasanathamadiko' (Nadanamakriya) gave a solemn finale. K. R. Ganesh's percussion could have been more subdued to suit the mood.

G. SWAMINATHAN

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