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Explorer on traditional lines


On a melodious voyage... T.M.Krishna.

THE CONCERT of T. M. Krishna created the impression that he was on a voyage to re-discover the glory of Carnatic music of the past through present fascination by happily maintaining harmony and balance. It was good in the sense the emphasis was as much on tradition as on exploring new vistas of interpretative purity. Tapering cadences in the raga vistaras of Nattakurinji (``Ekkaalattilum-Maravene") and the vintage sancharas in Bhairavi (``Upachaaramulanu" in Adi tala) helped him build a beauteous edifice of a Carnatic music performance. Once a musician is sensitised with the loftiness and grandeur of a raga or a composition he automatically identifies himself with it. Krishna had this serenity in his grip whether he was rendering madhyamakala kirtanas like ``Rama-neepai-tanaku''(Kedarani), ``Vaachaama Gocharame''(Kaikavasi) or ``Thoomani-maadathu'' (Hamirkalyani) or the vilambakala Nattakurinji song particularly in the raga elaboration of Bhairavi Krishna engaged himself in unearthing different layers of its appeal. The bhava aspect of Carnatic music was well conceived, invoked and experienced.

If Krishna's Bhairavi vistara was on gracious lines that of violinist S. Varadarajan clothed it with dynamically brilliant sancharas. There was a rich blend of ready and felicitous expression contributing to the charms of Bhairavi. The percussive wing with Vellore Ramabhadran (mridangam) and B. S. Purushottaman (kanjira) kept the serenity of the concert mood with restrained and soft laya paddings.

Fire and brimstone

In utter contrast was the earlier performance of the Hyderabad Brothers - Seshachari and Raghavachari in which subtle aesthetic values had to give way to fire and brimstone approach to singing. Their concert technique has fallen into a rut, the songs coming out in militancy and AK-47 swaraprastharas. If even a moving Devagandhari kriti ``Thulasamma'' had to bow to this dictate, the piercing rhetoric of ``Garuda-gamana''(Nagaswarali) and ``Nijamarmamu'' (Umabharanam) could be imagined. Vocal loudness paralysed the melodic dimension.

Good music does not hurt the ears of sensitive rasikas. In this respect, Delhi Sunderrajan's solo violin session spelt charms in the raga exposition of Kalyani. The percussive artistes Palghat Raghu (mridangam), Abhishek Raghuram (kanjira) and N. Somayajulu (ghatam) revelled in the aggressive display of the vocalists.

Spirited recital

Substituting for Unnikrishnan, Vijaya Siva sang spiritedly bringing extra vitality to his exposition. His concert was a testament to his performing ability directing his over-energetic voice to impart exaggerated appealing features in the tara sthayi, particularly in the raga vinyasa of Ritigowla and Kambhoji before the kritis ``Cheraraava-Demira'' and ``Sri-Subramanyaa-Namaste". While his presentation was assertively forceful he almost chewed the sahityas and swaras. Mellowness was low in priority. The Bhairavi Swarajati ``Kaamaakshi'' was well nourished. R. K. Sriramkumar (violin) took up the vocalist's challenging tone to respond with equal verve. The tani avartanam by Mannargudi Easwaran (mridangam) and Suresh (ghatam) was dazzlingly scintillating. Laya patterns flew like sparks from a froze.

Demonstrative

A rasika well acquainted with good sangita might have pondered whether Aruna Sairam's hand mudras were eloquently meritorious or her musical contrivance. That her instinctive propensities tended to the former was evident in the choice of the Sriranjani varnam of Papanasam Sivan, ``Swami-Nee". In fact, her demonstrative gestural exposition made adequate amends for the lack of substance in the alapanas of Ritigowla and Mohanam (in the Hindustani Bhoopmode) and in the rendering of the kritis "Nannu-Vi-Dachi", ``Nanu Paalimpa", ``Baagayanayma''(Chandrajyoti) and ``Brovavamma''(Manji). She seemed to proclaim none else could gild the lily as she did. The intoxicating beats of J. Vaidyanathan (mridangam) and S. Karthick (ghatam) tickled audience response.

Poor in aesthetics

The wholesome aspect in S. Sowmya's cutcheri was the three Tyagaraja songs ``Thulasidala''(Mayamalavagowla)``Nidhi-Chala- Sukhama'' (Kalyani) and ``Evarimaata''(Kambhoji). The alapanas of Kalyani and Kambhoji were grammatically precise, but aesthetically poverty-stricken. Narmada, on the violin, was in the same mood. Neyveli Narayanan (mridangam) and T.D. Balasubramanian meaningfully filled their places.

Sudha Raghunathan perhaps felt her voice was fit as a fiddle and so her whole exposition - alapanas, songs, neraval and swaras - was in the thara sthayi. Therefore her performance was one of temptation to the gallery and not tranquility expected of a senior artiste. She fascinated the listeners by the sorcery of speedy flights above the tarasthayi shadjam. Her briga-breezy Sankarabharanam alapana provided sweep back and forth with absolute tonal control. A profusion of sancharas rained in the vinyasa of Andolika too. On kirtana content -``Nee-Bhajanagana'' (Nayaki)``Raga-Sudaarasa''(Andolika)``Dakshinamurte'' (Sankarabharanam) and``Bandu-Reetikolu''(Hamsanadam) - interpretative intensity was the deciding factor in unfolding her cutcheri technique. Embar Kannan, playing the violin, presented the raga pictures in sharp profile. Palladam R. Ravi (mridangam) and R. Raman (morsing) kept the percussive wing in good shape.

From the start, U. Srinivas and U. Rajesh (mandolin duet) placed their value on musical rapidity prompted by the presence of three percussion artistes_ Vellore Ramabhadran (mridangam), V. Selvaganesh (kanjira) and T. V. Vasan (ghatam). The songs``Vatapi- Ganapathim''(Hamsadwani) ``Paraloka-Saadaname''(Poorvikalyani) and "Aparadamula''(Rasaali) reflected speedy extravagance with stepped-up Kalapramana. One exception was the Devagandhari piece ``Ksheera-Saagara-Sayana". S. D. Sridhar was the violinist meeting the mandolin duo half way.

Satisfactory


Geeta Rajasekhar... simple and straightforward Khambhoji. — Pic by S. R. Raghunathan.

Without much ado, Geetha Rajasekhar provided a satisfactory presentation of the kritis ``Kanta joodumi'' (Vachaspathy) ``Angaarakam''(Suruti) ``Bandureethi''(Hamsanandham). Her main thrust, besides the ragam, tanam and pallavi in Subapantuvarali, was Kambhoji, the alapana of which was simple and straightforward. The song ``O! Rangasayee'' was rendered engagingly. Violinist Meera Sivarakamrishnan lent decent support. A. S. Ranganathan (mridangam) was all along energetic carrying with him the ghatam artiste, Adambakkam Sankar.

Top class

The veena music by E. Gayatri was stately and nippingly delightful with subtleties of expression. Her fingers on the frets and for meettu seemed to be perfectly designed and programmed for nothing but the top class. Though the alapana of Subapantuvarali was a bit longish, the melodic content saw to it that it did not become tiring. On the other hand, the Ritigowla piece ``Janani-Ninnu Vina'' was like a well-cut jewel. Madirimangalam Swaminathan (mridangam) and E.M. Subramanian (ghatam) meshed well with veena notes.

Age and the not-so-good state of health determined the tenor of the cutcheri of K. V. Narayanaswamy. He tried his utmost to refurbish the quality of his music of the early days and succeeded somewhat. The Keeravani vinyasa was the highlight followed by the song ``Kaligiyunde". Earlier he sang ``Aazhi-mazhai-kanna'' (Varali) ``Thyagaraja-yoga-vaibhavam''(Anandabhairavi) ``Hechchariga''(Yadukula Kambhoji) in a fairly relaxed mood. S. Varadarajan on the violin well reflected KVN's musical statements. The contribution of Manoj Siva (mridangam) was modest.

Far from sensitve

Mohan Santhanam sang a mouthful of Todi alapana far from the sensitive. He seemed to be unaware of the niceties of carnatic music. ``Durmargachara''(Ranjani) ``Vidajaaladura'' (Janaranjani) and ``Sri-Krishnam-Bhaja''(Todi) were the items handled. Trivandrum Hariharan (violin) was equally rhetorical in response. Vijay Bhat (mridangam) did his part sincerely.Jayanti Rangarajan was very outgoing in displaying her musical resources mainly on the fast track, as in the alapanas of Begada and Madhyamavati. The kirtana ``Adiki'' registered well. She was accompanied on the violin by Siva Ganesh and on the mridangam by Erode Nagarajan.

Meera Nathan's concert was marked by expressional restraint, which at the same time, revealed the Carnatic content without any fancied approach. Her Aarabhi alapana was to the point followed by the beautiful Thyagaraja song ``Sundari-Ninnu".

The other noteworthy item was ``Sadaasraye'' the Dikshitar composition in Chamaram (the familiar Shanmukhapriya). Neela Jayakumar (violin) responded well with V.R. Jayakumar tastefully extending mridangam support.

Aruna Ranganathan's effort in the main was directed to Todi {Scaron}with the song ``Munnuravana". Earlier the Janaranjani delineation and song ``Nadaadina-Mata''failed to impress. Melakkaveri Thyagarajan (violin) and Trivandrum Balaji (mridangam) were the accompanists.

Mysore Chandan Kumar's flute recital was brisk with the general tendency to step up pace. He played ``Siddi-Vinayakam'' (Shanmukhapriya) and ``Bala-Gopala''(Bhairavi) fluently. C.K. Vijayaraghavan (violin) was far from satisfactory. G. S. Krishna was the laya accompanist.

Vijayalakshmi Subramanyam framed her concert on the strength of the songs ``Kanchadalayadakshi''(Kamalamanohari) ``Marubalka'' (Sriranjani, which was elaborated). The Yadukulakambhoji composition of Cheyyur Chengalvaraya Sastri ``Lalita-Maam-Pahi'' was the noteworthy item. Kalyani Shankar accompanied with great understanding. T. R. Sundaresan's mridangam support was minimal.

Hearing Sriram Gangadharan, one wondered whether he would ever understand that Carnatic music expected refinement from a vidwan.

Every aspect of his performance bristled with brute vocalism. The items included ``E-Vasuda''(Sahana) ``Mahishasuyra- Mardini''(Gowla) ``Ragaratna''(Ritigowla) and ``Divakara-Thanujam'' (Yadukulakambhoji). Balu Raghuraman (violin), B. Ganapatiram (mridangam) were his accompanying partners.

Lalita Krishnan's recital was highly simplistic without anything worthwhile to recommend to the listeners. All that can be said is she just sang the kirtanas ``Sri-Mahaganapathy'' (Gowlai) ``Manasu-Swaadeena''(Sankarabharanam).

Her alapana effort was directed to Poorvikalyani and Sankarabharanam. Shertalai Sivakumar (violin) and K.V. Gopalakrishnan (mridangam) were the accompanists.

Gayatri Girish's music came with a clean image containing the list ``Sakti-Ganapatim'' (Nattai) ``Chittam-Irangadadenayya'' (Sahana) ``Eduta-Nila-Chite'' (Sankarabharanam) with an over- stretched ragam, tanam and pallavi in Shanmukhapriya.

There was expressional maturity in the alapana of Sankarabharanam. S. Ramakrishna (violin) and D. A. Srinivas (mridangam) were the accompanists.

Srivalson Menon's concert was marked by equanimity without hurry containing the kirti's ``Vallaba-Nayakasya''(Begada) ``Namakugumamula''(Sri) and ``Anjaneya'' (Saveri). The last two items had worthy alapana effort. Akkarai Subbulakshmi (violin) was the competent and effusive accompanist. Salem S. Ranganathan lent effective mridangam support.

Sumitra Vasudev had to suffer the utter incompetence of the accompanists _ Roopa Rajagopal (violin) and R. Lavanya (mridangam). With what serenity they sat on the dais was a wonder.

Sumitra Vasudev, in spite of this handicap, gave a convincing account of her training through the alapanas of Dhanyasi (Ramaabhirama) and Sankarabharanam (Akshaya-Linga-Vibho). The patantara of the songs was authentic.

Bhushani Kalyanaraman's recital conformed to present day standards. The programme included ``Mahaganapatim''(Atana) and ``Talli-Ninnu-Nera'' and ``Venkatesa-Ninnu''(Madhyamavathy). Anuradha Sridhar (violin) kept her side competently. V. Rajasekhar was the mridangist. — SVK

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