BANGALORE : The avid lovers of Carnatic music had a wonderful couple of hours of superb musicianship by three incredibly talented vocalists on the second, third, fifth and concluding day of the 46th music conference of Bengaluru Gayana Samaja. Kalavathi Avadhooth, Kotapalli Vandana, Vani Sateesh and Sanjay Subramanyam were the respective leaders of the concerts. Not only did they exhibit total command of their medium and mode, they also combined singing with aesthetics, artistry and a solid technique of music of classicism and tradition. The presentations were amazing indeed! The music and the musician was exceptional! Bravo for them.
One of the popular high-class vocalists Kalavathi Avadhooth was all good in her recital. Her presentation of an expansive Mohana for the most lovable krithi Raara Rajivalochana probably stood out in all its glory. Successfully backed up by Charulatha Ramanujam (violin), Jayachandra (mridanga) and Arunkumar (morsing) Kalavathi started with a varna in Nattakuranji raga. She set an enjoyable tempo to the recital with Chalakalla (Arabhi)
The rendition of that mighty Todi varna by Shyama Sastry glowed with its demanding magnificent musicality along the entire range of its mood. Excellent classical content and timing was infused into the detailed singing of Devamanohari for an old time favourite krithi Palukavademira. It was beautified by chittai and kalapanaswaras. One expected quality music from the vocalist. This was fulfilled through the delineation of Dharmavathi raga followed by a grand krithi Paramdhaamavathi. The neraval at Paramjyothi Vikasini and scholarly swaras got a competent show.
A crisp Purandaradasa pada Eesa beku iddu jayisabeku (Dhanyasi) and Bhogeendra shayinam were refined fillers. With a wonderful line on which the words seemed to float effortlessly, the raga, tana and pallavi in a challenging Natabhairavi raga showcased an accomplished musician. The pallavi was handled with all the traditional flourishes and Kalavathi’s concert craft was commended.
Clean and direct
Blessed with a crystalline diction, clarion vocal tone and expressive gestures, Kottapallai Dr Vandana proved an able singer who could bring out the music that her selected songs tell. She had perfect partners in Nalina Mohan (violin), Tumkur B. Ravishankar (mridanga) and Tumkur B. Shashishankar (ghata). Throughout, her presentations were clean and direct. Though one felt that she could have been more profound, she succeeded in giving her repertoire an attractive musical form and imagery. Nevertheless, she justified her presence with firm and solid singing.
The repertory, happily, was more substantive and heartier. Her artistry on display was on such a consistently high level that it made the evening an easy success. A strong and supple rendition of Nannu brova Lalitha (Lalitha) with neraval and swaras at Sumeru madhya nilaye made a fine calling card. A bouncy Neekela daya in Kadanakutoohala was enchanting. Bhairavi (for Koluvayiyunnade with neraval at Manasu and swaras) and Behag (raga, tana and pallavi (Brindavanalola Goapala Gunasheela nathajanapaala marakatha manimaya chela) were vividly characterized and first-class in every respect. She brought finesse to Shahana, Bhoopali and other ragas of the ragamalika swaras. An intimate and intense artistry was offered right from the start to the end of the concert.
Substituting for the scheduled vocalist, a seasoned singer Vani Satish hailing from a family of famous musicians impressed the rasikas with her very good and a very tightly knit vocal music in an awe-inspiring way. She had a praiseworthy and more straightforward style, without at all losing her own personality. One of the finest performances by Vani, she had both the musical intelligence and solid vocal technique to sing advanced works raga, tana and pallavi in a tricky Varamu raga, detailed treatment of Simhendramadhyama and so on superbly, but, really, she could sing just about anything. She shone in her earlier part of her concert which featured the opening Kalyani ata tala varna and Sarasiruhasanapriye (Nata). Her Anandabhairavi exuded the delight of pure Carnatic music and the krithi Marivere was a class by itself. The leisurely and swinging rendition was appreciated. Vani did better in dealing with Harikambhoji raga fairly in detail and another familiar krithi Sakethanagaranatha was ornamented with a radiant manodharma.
A variety of listening experience treated the audience. A Purandaradasa pada Neene gathi neene mathi was sung in an telling ragamalika. Her music was convincing and proved that she is a super-singer. One was taken aback and applauded her artistry and erudition when she took up Varamu for the crown-item of the concert---a raga, tana and pallavi. The pallavi line Raghuveera Ranadheera Rama though sounded very simple was packed with all the subtleties of raga, tala and laya elements. The ragamalika swaraprastara was a true climax which broadened the tempo and unleashed a torrent of luxurious sound. As is her practice, she filled her concert agenda with her father Bellari Seshagiri Achar’s krithi in Madhuvanthi raga. The Radha sametha Krishna (Yaman Kalyani) was enthralling. Ganesh Prasad (violin), Jayachandra (mridanga) and Sukhanya Ramgopal (ghata) were the vibrant and vivacious accompanists.
What a pleasure it was to hear the music produced effortlessly without sounding annoying or inappropriately piercing through his vocal fabric by Sanjay Subramanyam during the closing concert of the music conference on Oct 19. There were countless varied phrases, virtuoso changes of vocal colors to suit the music and a refined listening experience. The fact that he is such a splendid singing artiste was proved in the exalted company of Varadarajan (violin), Neyveli Venkatesh (mridanga) and Venkataramanan (khanjira). His repertoire was ideal for his voice assuring that his interpretation does not bog down or sound over-indulgent. To his credit, he threw the spotlight on the classic and traditional material, rather than on his contributions per se. The Gowla varna (Gananatha) was the opening item. Ee Vasudha in Shahana was an early surprise. After a long time I enjoyed listening to Shanthamuleka (Saama raga) which was further beautified by swaras. The Vasantha Bhairavi raga prelude was enthralling and a quaint krithi Prasanna Venkatesh was endearing with kalpanaswaras. Sanjay’s fine singing underscored the splendour of Kedaragowla raga to be followed by Shyama Sastry’s Parakelanannu. The raga and swaravinyasa in Charukeshi for Onde manadalli and Enna punyam in Huseni raga had Sanjay’s own touch. The planning, effort and result was obviously visible in the rendition of a raga, tana and pallavi in Simhendramadhyama (Mayavanane Mudhusudhana nee rulvai) in khanda nadai adi tala. Though the alapana seemed to be in parts, he ultimately raised a compact and comprehensive edifice of the raga with interesting combinations and birkas.