Manipal Aruna Kumari’s performance spoke of an unswerving dedication
OWING TO DIFFIDENCE One could sense a marginal lacuna as far as the spontaneity of Aruna Kumari was concerned
Manipal Aruna Kumari played electronic veena at Ganabharathi in Mysore, accompanied by Kumaraswamy (mridanga) and S. Manjunath (ghata).
In spite of her physical disabilities which she has been suffering from the age of seven, she has risen to commendable stature through indomitable commitment and unswerving dedication.
Not wholly relying upon tender attentions, she has strengthened herself by expanding her repertoire to include expertise in playing violin and in singing.
Still, it appeared there was much to be explored, considering her potentialities that outweighed physical limitations.
In this respect, take for example, Ludwig van Beethoven, the creator of works of unsurpassed depth and emotional intensity.
He started growing deaf at his age of thirty, yet his creativity thriving unhindered. Varna in Charukeshi (Trichur A. Ananthapadmanabhan) displayed her sense of raagabhaava and the depth of her involvement. The gamakas were sufficiently deep for an appreciable impact, though more fluency was desirable.
The artistes deserved accolades for her swift movements on the frets, delicate plucking techniques and other dexterities (like, for example, the art of working simultaneously on different strings for special effects).
Nevertheless, there existed a marginal lacuna as far as the spontaneity was concerned, and this was related more to diffidence than tolack of competence.
Alapana in Nalinakanti before Thyagaraja’s “Manavyala Kincharadate” featured subtle sancharas characteristic of the raga, and here she satisfactorily maintained continuity in mood between different melodic strains in different levels of development.
Relevant graces and subtle articulations beautified Varali, and the composure exposed the devotional element in both lyrical (Dikshitar’s “Maamava Meenakshi”) and neraval sections.
Other important inclusions were “Yaare Rangana” (Jog Kauns – Purandara Dasa), Bhasma Bhushithanga (Revathi-Saibhajan), and Tillana (Madhuvanti - Trichur Ananthapadmanabhan).
*** Shakunthala Krishna Bhat Kunchinyadka sang at Ganabharathi, accompanied by H.M. Smitha (violin), B. Shriram Bhat (mridanga) and G.S. Kumar (ghata).
The concert deserved due appreciation for the scholarship and dedication the senior artiste was endowed with. Throughout, a perceptible involvement on the part of the artiste and admirable clarity in reciting the texts upheld the sanctity of the compositions.
Mysore Vasudevachar’s “Palumaru Ninne” (Varna - Kedaragowla), Jayachamaraja Wadiyar’s “Shri Mahaganapathim” (Athana), Chakrakodi Narayana Shastri’s “Shri Guru Ramanam” (Bahudari) and Swathy Thirunal’s “Mamavasada Varade” (Natakuranji) amply justified the above observations.
Considering the other important aspect - the musical appeal - the concert was quite arid. Inadequate depth in graces (necessary to bring out the raga bhaava), want of polished intonations (to support the saahitya bhaava), and a deficiency in artistic imagination (to boost up the rasanish patti) dampened the impact.
Dikshitar’s “Minakshi Me” (Gamakakriya), which was the focus, featured a detailed alapana, a neraval at Madhurapuri, few strains of kalpana swaras ending in a thani avarthana.
The skilled and dedicated accompanists filled up the deficiencies keeping the audience riveted to the concert.
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