Excess of swaras
AS A veteran critic pointed out a few years ago, the quality of vishranti is an elusive but essential aspect in Carnatic music. With vishranti absent in their music, the Malladi Brothers' performance had a mixed reception at R. R. Sabha for the Mylapore Arts Academy. The majestic quality of Khamboji was not discernible in Ravi's alapana, focus being on speedy brigas and gamakas.
Embar Kannan's violin answer was refreshingly different, but only for a while, he too being consumed by the penchant for speed.
The Khamboji kriti, Dikshitar's "Sri Subramanyaya," was sung in traditional style and as usual there was a string of swaras after the neraval at Vasavadi. Sure enough, it evoked a loud applause, quite fashionable now-a-days.
Sriram's Varali alapana was good in parts, but was there any necessity for such a marathon swara session? A briefer exercise might have given a slot for an additional kriti. The Varali song was Tyagaraja's "Ne Pogadakunte''. Ravi's Supradipa alapana for "Varasikhivahana'' was quite impressive. The javali "Itusahasamu'' (Saindhavi _ Swati Tirunal) did not register.
Mannargudi Iswaran's laya vidwat was proclaimed rather loudly in the tani avartanam. Comparatively, T. M. Subramanyam's ghatam was subtle.
Touch of originality
After a rousing start with a neat Sriranjani alapana for Tyagaraja's "Sogasuga Mridanga Talamu'' and a tight rendering of Dikshitar's "Ramanatham Bajeham" (Pantuvarali) with variegated swaras at "Kumaraguruguha Viditam'', preceded by a stylistic alapana, M. S. Sheela lapsed into a listless rendering of Papanasam Sivan's "Neeirangayenil'' (Atana). She followed it up with a speedy Purandara Dasa kriti in Todi, the lyrics were unclear even to the small section of the Kannada audience _ majority of the Tamils could not care less _ until the mudra revealed the composer. This was in contrast to the two other Dasa kritis which she sang towards the end of the concert. After a brief but charming Behag alapana, "Nagubaruttide'' and "Ramanama Payasake'' (which is sung in different ragas) was rendered as a kavadichendu of sorts in Maand. The style did reveal the originality of the artiste!
Sheela was in top form when halfway through, and she took up Madhyamavati _ the hour was ideal and the run up too. All the nuances of the raga were brought to the fore in an extensive alapana and Shyama Sastry's "Palinchu Kamakshi" came as the icing on the cake. A comprehensive neraval at the time-tested "Kantamaruperu" and brisk swaras enhanced the beauty of the melodic exercise.
This was carried a further step forward by violinist Shriramkumar whose terse but soft answers spoke of his growing stature. His Mukhari alapana for Tyagaraja's "Sangita Sastra Gnanamu" was most moving. Sheela has a sweet and free flowing shariram, and does not attempt to overawe the audience with mind-boggling brigas or sangatis. She also respects tradition. Bangalore Keshavamurthy (mridangam) and Pudukottai Ramachandran (ghatam) gave commendable support.
Vibrant and vigorous
Veena veteran R. Pichumani gave a vibrant and vigorous concert at R. R. Sabha for Mylapore Arts Academy. The programme included Shyama Sastry's Bhairavi swarajati, a winner for its conception and execution. Pichumani played it with all the sensitivity and rhythmic beauty. The Saveri alapana and tanam, which followed another Shyama Sastry kriti, "Durusuga," was rendered with all majesty. The artiste had come up with a well thought out list of songs of various composers, which made the evening pleasant. R. Raman gave adequate veena support. Palghat Suresh (mridangam) and Pudukottai Ramachandran (ghatam) were the percussionists.
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