SRI PARTHASARATHI SWAMI SABHA
For the connoisseur and lay rasika
Sudha Ragunathan Pic. by K. V. Srinivasan.
NEYVELI SANTHANAGOPALAN has not yet recovered fully from his bad `saareeram.' But that has affected neither his music, nor his rasikas. He manages to influence rasikas artfully with his kind of `feather-touch' voice. This manipulation comes to him naturally and he is able to overcome his voice deficiency, not only in alapana, but also in neravals and swara singing.
His rendering of ``Makelara Vicharamu" in Ravichandrika was ample proof and the longish neraval for the lines ``Jatakoorchi Natakasutramu" showed his manodharama. In ``O Jagadamba," in Anandabhairavi, his swara prastharas were typical of Madurai Mani and it looked as if he deliberately followed the maestro's style, which remarkably suited his voice. Santhanagopalan these days often breaks into speeches and his ``Durmargachara" after Ranjani alapana had a brief tribute to the Parur-style of violin playing. Santhanagopalan should also control his mannerisms. (For instance, touching the mridangam with folded hands often, as obeisance to the vidwan Guruvayur Durai). His other items like ``Venkataramana" (Lathangi), ``Mari Emi Kaavalenu" (Telugu - Ambujam Krishna: Kannada), ``Entha Ninne" (Mukhari) and ``Manamuleda" (Hamirkalyani) had the usual high quota of swarakalpanas. If it could be permitted, Santhanagopalan would sing swaras for Pavamaana, too!
Emphasis on sowkyam
Sudha Ragunathan, of late, seems to have adopted a style, which would satisfy both the connoisseur and the lay rasika. It seems Sudha has taken the suggestions of senior critics that Carnatic music is serious business and cannot be taken lightly. For instance, Sudha did not, for once, resort to brigha-laden passages in her concert and in stead laid more emphasis on the aspect of `Sowkyam' and the audience in the jam-packed hall seemed to enjoy it thoroughly. With a breezy swarakalpana for the not-so-often-heard kriti, ``Sudha Madhuryabhashini" of GNB in a rare raga Vandana Dharini, Sudha excelled in the aalapana also.
The main piece of the concert, however, was her Khamboji aalapana, which served as an impressive prelude to the Thyagaraja kriti ``O Rangasayi." The post-thani segment was almost in a thematic-format, perhaps unintentional, on Krishna, with ``Nindati Chandana," ``Thaaye Yasoda" (Ragamalikai instead of Todi), ``Bhavayami Gopalabalam," and ``Ninne Dhyana." Embar Kannan on the violin closely followed Sudha in his versions of aalapana. Tiruvarur Vaidyanathan on the mridangam and Raman on the morsing ably provided the percussive support.
Young Anusha Thyagarajan Pradeep's afternoon concert was average, in the sense, the voice was very feeble and failed to convey the `bhava' fully. Her ``Aparathamula" (Lathangi) ``Meru Samaana" (Mayamalavagaula) followed by a quick ``Nenarunchinanu" (Malavi) were ordinary. Coming from the Musiri School, she could have impressed with Mukhari, with an emotive and evocative Thyagaraja piece like ``Entha Ninne." However, her voice gained a little strength when she rendered ``Rama Rama Gunaseema." Young Amrita Murali on the violin was more than adequate and Madurai B. Sundar's mridangam support was unobtrusive.
A promising singer of merit is Raji Gopalakrishnan and her concert opened with the Keeravani kriti ``Varamulasagi." Because of her melodious voice, apart from her manodharma, she is able to sustain the audience interest throughout. This is perhaps her greatest strength. So her rendering of ``Sri Mathrubhootham" (Kannada), ``Tharunam Eethamma" (Gowlipanthu) and ``Mohana Rama" (Mohanam) got her instant audience appreciation in ample measure, just for her sheer mellifluous music. Equally brilliant was H. N. Bhasker's violin accompaniment. He showed his creativity in his renderings of aalapana and swarakalpanas.
If only A. S. Ranganathan, a fine mirdangist no doubt, had been subdued in his artistry, the listeners could have enjoyed the concert more.
For, often the mridangam sound overshadowed the vocalist's voice. (In this context, Palakkad Mani Iyer's nephew Seshan used to say that `Mama gave enough pauses to enjoy the music of the singer and kept his mridangam silent'). Tiruchi Murali on the ghatam unfortunately had to match Ranganathan's sound-byte.
T. M. Krishna's was an abhinaya-concert. But his ``Suryamurte" (in Sourashtram) and a rarely sung ``Intha Gante Kavalena Ee Kashtamu" (Kannada), the Panthuvarali aalapana for ``Ninne Nera Namminanura" and ``Devi Brova Samayamithe" in the raga Chintamani and an extraordinarily brilliant aalapana of Anandabhairavi for ``O Jagadamba" were marked for both purity and paatantharam.
T. M. Krishna
If he used his immense creative potential to draw the contours of Anandabhairavi, his rendering of the kriti was emotion-packed. If his torrent of swaras for ``Ninne Nera" looked like Irfan Pathan's speed bowling, his ``Devi Brova," which followed next, was like witnessing Kumble's magical spin.
One appreciable point in the concert was the mridangam playing of Srimushnam Raja Rao. He did not beat the instrument but gently caressed it.
The nadham it produced meshed well with the singer's timber and did not drown the voice. Throughout the concert, Raja Rao's was a mellowed play collaborating with Vaikom Gopalakrishnan's ghatam. Their thani also stood for the sheer joy of listening pleasure.
Send this article to Friends by