Balamurali Showcases Music of the Finest Order

The legend, now in his eighties, brings joy to his admirers with a performance of great variety

Published: 29th September 2014 06:05 AM  |   Last Updated: 29th September 2014 06:05 AM   |  A+A-

BANGALORE: The joy derived is inexplicable when a genius artiste rises to the occasion and demonstrates his seasoned skill and expertise. Legendary vocalist Dr M Balamuralikrishna's performance at Chowdaiah Memorial Hall on Sunday for the Bengaluru International Arts Festival was hailed with a standing ovation.

Accompanied by C N Chandrasekhar (violin), T R Sundareshan (mridanga) and Narayanamurthy (ghata), he proved that even at 80-plus he can fly high. His disciple Dr Krishnakumar sang along. Due to his amazing natural gifts Balamuralikrishna sings cleanly. His vocal type is noted for its flexibility. It is always fresh, light, and yet invigorating in drama.

The concert was a fascinating presentation of vocal music at its expressive and intimate best. The florid lines were astounding and astonishing. A voice with this facility at the extreme top is rare in any era. Everything was accomplished with marvellous fluency. His voice was firm in definition and the tone was diamond-bright.

In the more sombre selections, his voice took on a poignant quality, with a graceful approach to phrasing, and offered a seamless Carnatic palette of subtle vocal colours. His repertoire matched his singing personality.

He began the evening with his own composition, a varna (Omkaara Pranavanaada) in Shanmukhapriya raga. The charana annexed with interesting swaras was sung in a delightful manner.

Pereyaniyam in Hamsadhwani raga was embellished with chittaiswaras and kalpanaswaras. The maestro exhausted all the combinations including daatuswaras in them. Yadava nee baa yadukula nandana in vilamba kala was a real treat. Shankarabharana raga was sketched in glowing colours.

Sangatis patented to him had a smooth flow. Thyagaraja's Mariyadagaadu was rounded off with a scintillating and artistic swaraprastara. The way he manipulated a swara in all the registers in an exciting rhythmic frame was just superb. A short Hindola alapana for Samajavara gamana was a class act.

Daivamu neeve sakala praani ki addressed to Krishna and composed by himself was rendered in his self-composed raga Gurupriya. The detailed alapana and swaras for Murali nee karamuna were enthralling.

Pibare Rama rasam and Krishnam Kalaysakhi were followed by his own tillana. Everything was done with great charm and care for the words.

Artistic sax

The Gokulashtami music and dance festival at the Venugopala temple, Malleswaram, began with a neat and tidy saxophone recital by young Sridhar Sagar, a disciple of Kadri Gopalanath.

The upward extension of his creations was remarkable. His playing was accurate and fearless. His formidable technique permitted him to toss the most elaborate phrases with panache, and his high register was totally secure and at the same time capable also of sweetness and expression.

Sridhar Sagar used his great gifts in his class-and-mass-appeal repertoire which sparkled in its execution. His trills and brilliant and precise passage work in a luminous high register were endearing.

Accompanied by Rajkumar (dolu), Ganesh (mridanga), Nagabhushan (tabla), Parashuram (keyboard) and Kamath (rhythm pad), the saxophonist drew the attention of the audience with his renditions of Nammama Sharade (Hamsadhwani), Marugelara (Jayanthasri), Malayamarutha, Devadideva (Sunadavinodini), Adigo, Devadeva, Nagumomu (Abheri), Samajavaragamana (Hindola). He regaled the audience with his instrumental trills.

Splendid singer

The seasoned Sanjay Subramanyam displayed brilliance of technique at his vocal recital at the same venue. He had a wonderful sense of the decorative aspects and sang delicate and detailed phrases. He built effectively on the Carnatic tradition, adding a great measure of melody and emotional expansiveness.

He brought in full force the masterful combination of lyricism and passion present in the works.

His voice was warm, round and evenly produced. There was “juice" in it and cushion too. The packed rasikas could sample many delicacies. It is admirable how the voice retained its freshness and beauty. He could spin a soft line with spellbinding effect, as well as dazzle with his virtuoso rhythmic displays.

Even his melkaala phrases had praiseworthy aesthetics. He proved that he is also a technical stunner. Befittingly backed up by S Varadarajan (violin), Neyveli Venkatesh (mridanga) and Alathur Rajganesh (khanjira), Sanjay Subramanyam’s talent, skill and expertise got well illustrated in the two-kaala rendition of a demanding varna (Ninne kori). A crisp Pallanu (Nata) as the second item of the concert was a welcome change. Alapanas in Bilahari (Saarasadalanayana, with chittaiswaras and swaras) and a rarely delineated Dhenuka (Teliyaleru) were worthy of everyone's undivided attention. 

The elaboration of Sriranjini raga for Dikshitar’s Sri Ramachandro rakshathu was adorned with varied kalpanaswaras and won thunderous applause. Bhogindra shayinam (Kuntalavarali) was followed by a profound raga, tanamalika, (Shankarabharana, Charukeshi and Hindola) and pallavi set to mishra triputatala.

Impressive singing

The Navaratri festival has begun in Bangalore. Poojas, homas and alankaaraas at various maths and temples are drawing large crowds of devotees and rasikas.

The Navaratri celebrations at Sri Avani Shankara Sringeri Math, Basaveshwaranagara, led by Sri Abhinava Vidyashankara Bharathi Mahaswamiji, began on Thursday with a Ganapati homa.

In the evening, he held a traditional darbar by ascending the silver peetha. In his holy presence, veteran vocalist Dr Vidyabhushana, accompanied ably by M S Govindaswamy (violin), H S Sudheendra(mridanga) and Srishyla (ghata) impressed with his melodious music.

Opening with a Ugabhoga he sang a quaint krithi by Thyagaraja in Amrithavarshini raga (Sarasiruhaasana nayane), with neraval and swaras). His rendition of Madhyamavathi, Hamsadhwani, Abheri, Shanmukhapriya and other ragas were commendable.

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