The Bangalore International Arts Festival (BIAF) concluded on a musical note to a houseful of music lovers, enthralled at the plethora of performances at the Chowdiah Memorial Hall. With 50 veena artistes, led by renowned instrumentalist Dr Suma Sudhindra, Director, Academy of Music, creating melodies, Naada Tarangini was one occasion where the stage was as packed as the rest of the auditorium.
Starting with Patnam Subramanya Iyer’s varanam Vanajakshi (Kalyani) and set to Aditala, the musicians’ fingers danced across the frets of the veenas, enthralling art and culture enthusiasts at the event. While the lead artiste played the alaap, supported by fellow instrumentalist Anuradha Madhusudan and students Gayatri and Shailaja, describing vividly the raga through characteristic musical phrases, the rest of the orchestra joined in with the pallavi of each composition and notes from 50 veena strings reverberating in the air. The varanam was followed by Muthuswami Deekshitar’s kriti Mahaganapathi (Naatai) set to Ekatala and then three compositions of Thyagaraja - Nadaloludye (Kalyanavasantha), Manavyala Kinchara (Nalinikanti) and Bantureethi Kolu (Hamsanada), all set to Aditala. With the beginning of each new composition, the backdrop changed; images of the composer or the subject of the composition were projected for the benefit of those members of the audience who did not choose to close their eyes and sway to the music.
By far, the highlight of the evening was a piece composed by Suma Sudheendra Priyatarangini, an ode to Goddess Saraswati on occasion of Navaratri. As the name indicates, it is a raagamalika of five ragas ending with ‘priya’: Kharaharapriya, Ratipatipriya, Gayakapriya, Bhaktipriya and Rasikapriya. The composition was also set to five different talas.
A Devaranama in raga Saramati was next with the percussion team of six, led by Anoor Anantha Krishna Sharma (mrudangam), also comprising G Guruprasanna (kanjira), N S Manjunath (rhythm pads), Jagadeesh Kurthkoti and Kiran Gorkhindi (tabla) and S N Narayana Murthy (Ghatam) displayed their prowess.
The performance culminated with a Tillana in raga Dhanushri set to Aditala.