ANY EXCESSIVE exhibition of bhakti or bhava coupled with gestures, however spontaneous, will not go down well with the rasikas. That's what happened most of the time in Neyveli R. Santhanagopalan's concert. Alapanas and swaras for kritis became almost stereotyped. Though he learnt music initially from Madurai T. N. Seshagopalan he has confessed that he has modelled his singing on the lines of Madurai Mani Aiyar, especially his way of rendering the charming and ever enduring sarvalaghu swaras. Santhanagopalan indulged in a long swara exercise in Tyagaraja's ``Gnanamosagarada" (Purvikalyani) and feelingly rendered Dikshitar's ``Annapurne Visalakshi" (Sama). Violinist Vittal Ramamurthy reproduced every phrase and idiom of the vocalist while Vellore Ramabhadran, as is his wont, gave a brief but strikingly melodic tani avarthanam, guiding H. Sivaramakrishnan on the ghatam.
This was one of the briefest concerts of the current season, not an enjoyable one either. The vocalist's none too co-operative shariram perhaps spurred him to make a quick getaway. Rather tragic for this artiste, once hailed as a superstar in the making.
K. N. Sashikiran, vocalist of repute and his cousin P. Ganesh, a chitraveena expert (following in the footsteps of maestro Ravi Kiran) and vocalist have teamed together to become the latest duo singers with each, however, not giving up his original calling. Their concert for Hamsadhwani showed their potential to join the galaxy of stars in duo singing. The concert also revealed a few shortcomings that should be overcome with more practice and frequent joint sessions. Both are endowed with a wealth of vidwat that should help in their new venture. The role model for duo singing is undoubtedly the celebrated Alathur Brothers of yesteryear. Though Sashikiran and Ganesh have a long way to go to achieve that stature there are encouraging indications, one of which is the high musical sense they have acquired with intense training. This was reflected in the intricate RTP they rendered in Malayamarutam in Khanda triputa. They did well to sing the Bhavayami ragamalika ``Ramachandraneedaya" (Surati) and Purandhara Dasar's Dasavatar mangalam, underlining the divine mood of the Rama Navami week. Muthiah Baghavatar's Kannada song ``Bhuvaneswariya" (Mohana Kalyani) ``Muralidhara Gopala" (Maand-Perisamy Thooran) were noteworthy efforts.
The duo had great support from the veteran violinist M. S. Anantaraman (who as usual paid encomiums to the young pair). His play was marked for its tranquillity and ability to turn in rare sancharas either in alapanas or swaras with absolute ease. On the mridangam Thanjavur Ramadas impressed with his quiet efficiency.
Though there is no ban on rendering neraval and swaras at the pallavi, by convention the place chosen is either charanam or anupallavi. After a satisfying alapana in Purvikalyani for Ramanathapuram Srinivasa Iyengar's ``Parama Pavana" (Adi). S. P. Ramh chose the pallavi line for neraval and swaras instead of the time-tested charanam. It made limited impact. Ramh had, three weeks earlier, figured in the Purandhara Dasar Day at a different sabha and at Hamsadhwani he appeared to continue the innings with three Dasar kritis, ``Ramanama Payasake" (Ananda Bhairavi), ``Rama Rama Rama Enneero" (Vasantha) and ``Rama Rama Sitarama" (Tilang). Prof. C. S. Radhakrishnan's ``Kamakshi Durita" (Karnaranjani) ``Tunga Tarange" (tuned in Hamsadhwani by Lalgudi) and ``Vamebhoomisuta," a Sanskrit ragamalika sloka (Todi, Begada, Behag and Durga) a Bharathi song in Durga gave pep to the concert which was free from unnecessary frills and superficial articulation. The singer who began with a Lalgudi varnam in Kannada ended with a Lalgudi tillana in Bindumalini.
Pakala Ramadas (violin), Palghat S. Suresh (mridangam) and T. D. Balu (ghatam) gave good support.
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