Youngsters make their mark
The concerts held in connection with the festival of the Ernakulam Siva temple provided a platform for many talented youngsters.
Keerthi Unni's violin concert revealed how vocal training can help a musician.
APART FROM T.H. Lalitha, Sindhu Nedumangadu and the like there are hardly any professional women violinists in Kerala. Hence, Keerthi Unni's arrival has been welcomed by all. She has been gaining popularity as a Carnatic vocalist and member of Thripunithura Kathakali Kendram. She was trained by Kumari Varma in Kathakali music. She learned the violin from Dileep of Chottanikara for a brief period and honed her skill with practice and by listening to concerts.
Owing of the absence of an opportunity to highlight the grace of the diction in a violin solo, Keerthi prefers vocal recitals. All the same, her violin solo that was held in connection with the festival of Ernakulam Siva temple, under the aegis of Kshethra Kshema Samiti, showed that she has a bright future if she dedicates herself to regular and formal training. There is a natural tonal strength in her playing, which is free from a jarring screech, a common feature that mars recitals of beginners. She has a style that is slanted more towards the conventional and set up the tempo with the Ata thala varnam in Kambhoji to proceed with `Annapoorne' in Saama by Deekshithar and `Endaro Mahanubhavulu' before outlining `Malayamarutham.' Then came `Manasaa etu lo' by Thyagaraja. Her aesthetics came to the fore with Sankarabharanam and the swaras grafted to `Akshayalinga' (misrachappu) revealed how vocal training is helpful to a Carnatic instrumentalist when unfolding a major Dikshitar composition. Kapi (`Enna Thavam') by Papanasam Sivan and `Alaippayuthe' by Oothukadu Venkata Subbaiyer in Kanada followed. Thripunithura Subbaraman on the mridangam and Thripunithura Hari Swamy on the ghatom accompanied her.
Syam Mahadevan who sang the next day has a tenor that is ideal for an up-and-coming vocalist. His approach was to render the kritis of reputed poet-composers and select a popular raga for demonstrating his prowess as a singer. The highlight was Navaraga Varnam. `Gajavadana' (Sree Ranjini by Papanasam Sivan), `Vancha thonu' (Karnaranjini by Muthayya Bhagavathar), `Sree Sankara' (Nagaswaravali by Mahavaidyanatha Iyer), `Ninnu Nera' (Panthuvarali by Thyagaraja), `Pridanamichithe' (Bilahari by Pattanam. Subrahamanya Iyer in Khandachappu) and `Mahadeva Siva Sambho' in Revathy by Tanjavur Sankara Iyer were some of the other songs he rendered. Kalyani was slotted for a broad sketch, along with `Himaadri Suthe' by Syama Sastri in Roopakam for niraval and swaras.
Ajay Nambuthiri from Payyannur presented a vocal recital that displayed verve.
His depiction of Kalyani with `Thalli Ninnu' in Chappu was embellished by niraval and swara. `Sadanada Thandavam' in Bahudhari by Achuthadasa and `Thathwamariya' by Papanasm Sivan were also rendered by him.
Satheesh Varma (violin), Balakrishna Kamath (mridangam) and Elamakara Balachandran (ghatom) accompanied him.
The concerts also included a flute recital by Palakkad V.R. Subrahamanian, Kovai Vrinda Raghu on the violin and Kovai S. Raghu on the mridangam and a vocal by Leelamani Radhakrishnan.
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