Revelling in intense devotion
An enthusiastic singing trio and students of masters in music (third semester) of Bangalore University, Ranjani Vasuki, Deepasri Prashanth and Ramadevi Ramesh exhibited their skills and dedication towards their assignment of presenting a thematic concert featuring Eka krithi ragas (Carnatic ragas in which only one krithi is found). Professor B M Jayashri, the head of the department of performing arts deserves commendations for her successful direction. The trio acknowledged the all-round support they received from their mentors like Dr Nagavalli Nagaraj, Dr Hamsini Nagendra and others. They came out in flying colours in their pursuit when they sang together in a recital held as part of their examination at Dr Venkatagirigowda Auditorium, Jnanabharathi last Wednesday morning. They prefaced their singing with a useful and highly informative powerpoint presentation which shed light on the features of the selected ragas, the text of the songs and about the Vaggeyakaras concerned.
The singing was focused and crisp. The phrasing and inflection of the notes was uniformly good. Though it was more academic in character, one would be hard pressed to call their presentations beautiful; the interpretations were far from boring, especially in the morning rendition of about eight unique ragas and the krithis in them, and the audience seemed captivated. The voices were youthfully exuberant, but the ardent singers had control of their volume and were able to scale up and down the registers. Ranjani, daughter-disciple of an extraordinary vocalist Dr Nagavalli Nagaraj, in particular, was especially fluent both in her singing and narration and her technique secure. It did not feel rushed but just efficient and effortless. The birkas, palukus and the other vocal productions were exact replicas of her mother’s singing. As a performer, she was not overly flashy and seemed quite assertively comfortable. Her classmates Deepasri and Ramadevi performed with sensitivity. The ragas and songs that followed were able to establish an immediate rapport with the audience and their precise intonations and winning musicality was rightly applauded. The three singers exuded a serene confidence and were completely unruffled by the demanding task they had taken up. All the krithis were sung with the vibrancy and freshness that characterised their entire performance which explored the entire dynamic spectrum of their high, powerful voices with fine technique and lucid diction.
Formally backed up by Mathur Srinidhi (violin) and Sunil Subramanya (mridanga), the trio started with Thyagaraja’s Evarani nirnayinchu set to Devaamrithavarshini raga. It was sung beautifully in unison in a pleasing vilamba kala. Devi brova (Chitamani, Shyama Sastry), Mamava Raghuveera (Mahuri - Harikambhoji janya, Muthuswamy Dikshitar), Sharadaabharana (Vagadheeshwari, Tiruvattiyur Thyagayya), Sharanam Vijaya Saraswathi maaye (Vijaya Saraswathi - a derivative of Simhendramadhyama, Muthuaiah Bhagavatar, with chittaiswaras), Kamala charane (Amritha Behag - a janya raga of Kalyani, GNB, with chittaiswaras), Gam Ganapathe (Poorvangi raga - Shankarabharana janya, Jayachamaraja Wodeyar, with chittaiswaras), Omkaarakaarini (a swarantara raga Lavangi with only four swaras, Dr Balamuralikrishna, with chittaiswaras) were the compositions sung neatly by the trio. Over all, the concert craft was laudable.
Flow of devotion
In connection with Sri Datta Jayanthi, a week-long music festival is being held at Sri Datta Peetha, Hosakerehalli under the aegis of Sri Yogishwara Subrahmanyananda Charitable Trust led by a pious Sri Gurudatta from December 8. On Tuesday a versatile artiste-seer Sri Keshavananda Bharathi Swamiji, the head of Sri Edneer Mutt, let the stream of devotion flow continously with his singing of devotional songs in his recital. The audience seemed entranced and the performance was so gripping that it turned out to be an intensely engaging evening. The Swamiji besides singing various saint-composers’ compositions rendered his own compositions too. The Swamiji’s recital was complemented by Hemanthkumar (violin), Pranesh (flute), Anur Ananthakrishna Sharma (tabla), Vasanthkumar Kumble (key board), Vinod Shyam (dholak), Nagendra Prasad (dholki) and Gopi Shravan’s (rhythm pad) tasteful playing.
Though he was little physically indisposed, his voice seemed warmer and more focused creating a genial atmosphere. In his singing of varieties of compositions in different languages, his diction was crystal clear. The words were all enunciated perfectly and the bhava evoked was especially transparent and lovely. He communicated the contents of the compositions through the music with great clarity. The vocalist sang with disciplined restraint, relying solely on the nuances of his voice to articulate the emotions and meaning of the songs. His delivery was lean and exact, with the touch of classicism and tradition of Carnatic and Hindustani music. It looked so effortless.
Singing with ease he embarked on a voyage to bhakti with a salutation to Lord Ganesh (Paadakondisuve, Hamsadhwani). The in-depth elaboration of bhava full of imaginative sangathis was majestic. Namo Bhootanatha (Abheri), Devabanda (Mohana), Alli nodalu Rama (Purandaradasa), Indu koti teja (a composition on Sri Dattatreya, Saramathi), Vande santham (a composition of Lord Hanuman, Shivaranjini) and others impressed the ears. A brief alapana in Todi was welcome and was followed by Karunakara neenembudetako, which struck the right chord.
The Swamiji’s expertise in Hindustani music was exposed in the rendition of a Meera bhajan Tum bin more set to Hameer raga. Singing in madhya and dhrut laya, he ornamented it with taan and bol taans too. Naaneke badavanu (Chandrakauns) was moving. Among other his own compositions Jeevana Yaatre (in folk tune) and Paahi Jagadamba (Bhoopali) drew special attention.
Awe-inspiring Nava Shakthi
There was an incredible amount of choreography and the corps de ballet kept all quite occupied through the dance feature Navaratri Navashakti presented by the students of Ponnaiah Lalithakala Academy on Monday. Led by Shwetha and her husband Shreyas Krishna, the presentation was dedicated to the founder of the Academy, dancer-guru-choreographer-organiser-authoress late Padmini Rao. The programme was held on the third day of the Academy’s annual carnival of classical choreography at Padmini Rao Parampara Art and Culture Resource Development Centre.
Goddess Durga is worshipped in nine forms during the Dasara festival. A few of them were enacted on the basis of mythological episodes. Kowmari (Girija Kalyana), Indrani (Nahusha-Indrani/Shachi tale), Vaishnavi (the emergence of Goddess Lakshmi during Samudra manthana), Maheshwari (birth of Lord Ganesha) and Chamundi (killing of Mahishasura) were depicted in a well-knit group performance. Taught by the late Guru Padmini Rao and reproduced by Shwetha and Shreyas, it was a befitting tribute to the Guru. Shwetha, Prassanna Kumar. Usha Vishakha Jagadeesh, Priya Sampangi, Shravani, Divya, Vaishnavi, Swathi, Aneesha, Sushmitha, Rajasvi, Sharanya and Chasmi were the dancers. The live music support extended by Shreyas Krishna (nattuvanga), Neela Ramanujam (vocal), Giridhar(mridanga) and others was rewarding. The rasikas were overwhelmed by sculpturesque poses, group discipline and music. The motion and the colours left one in total awe.