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Short of expectations

It was a mixed bag of performances as both artistes performed without consistency.

MIGHTY `PARAMPARA' is a dynamic, which promotes opinion to dizzy heights, albeit average or astounding music. Involuntarily, the earnest artiste with such a backup will build it with benediction and attains both popularity and precision. Nithyasri, the niece of D.K. Pattammal is a case in point.

In her benefit vocal concert last week under the aegis of the Sri Lakshminarayana Seva Samithi, Nithyasri regaled the audience with traditional music unsoiled by contemporary histrionics and untouched by cheap gyrations. However, in her search for the exalted, she neither could reach those lofty heights nor retain the essentials of melody. Her yearning to reach the `tara shadja' and stay there yelling was a blemish that more often ruined what she otherwise built up in the process.

Her voice is rich but its efficacy is injured. Although the `parampara' is great, the imprint is not unsullied. The concert augured well with the `varnam' in `sahana'. In simulating M.S. with the `kriti', `Srimannarayana' in `Bhupalam' the effort fell short of expectations. The song `Makelara vicharamu' in `Ravichandrika' was good but over playing of `swarakalpana' was a negative effort. `Ranganayakam' in `Nayaki' was a good presentation, so also was `Muruga muruga' in `Begada'.

The highlight of the concert was `Kalyani'. The raga was elaborate but riddled with relentless repetitions and with no design or structure. The `kriti', `Nidhi chala sukhama' had `sangathis' that were off the beaten track but pleasant enough.

M.A. Sundaresan who accompanied her on the violin and Skanda Subramaniam on the `mridangam' could not do much because the style of singing was limited in scope and rigid in freedom.

Good application

The vocal concert the following day of young Balamuralikrishna from Chennai was of a different spectrum. Evidently, the artiste is richly talented. If the concert was impressive, it was because of his application and creativity; if it did not achieve that measure in full, it was because of his overconfidence. It is common to find a majority of the young singers trying to attempt things beyond their means and in the process land in confusion. Balamurali was no exception in this work out; in almost every item he attempted, the wave was overwhelming.

Poor planning is yet another affliction that makes the concert deprived. Balamurali, it must be conceded has a rich voice, but the grace of modulation is lacking. `Bhairavi ata thala varnam' was rendered in extreme haste; so also was the item, `Srimahaganapathi' in `Gowla'. The other items that followed, like `Aparamabhakthi' in `Panthuvarali', `Nannubrovanikintha thamasama' in `Abhogi' and `Kshirasagara shyana' in `Devagandhari', were good enough but they were soiled to some extent by excessive body language. It was in the item `Kharaharapriya' that Balamurali came out with his scholarship and erudition.

The elaborate raga and famous `kriti', `Chakkani rajamargamu', with adequate `Neraval' and `Swarakalpana' were pleasing to listen. Komanduri Krishnan on the violin, who is proving himself as the most wanted accompanist in the city, gave excellent support, while Trivandrum Balaji was exceedingly sober and yet gratifying.

B.R.C. IYENGAR

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