It is always homely and a matter of intimacy to participate in a music programme fondly hosted by a renowned and accomplished artiste. Leading Carnatic vocalist M S Sheela and her husband B K Ramaswamy deserve to be praised for their successful efforts in lending an invaluable contribution to the field of Carnatic classical music through their Hamsadhwani Creations. They have been arranging music workshops, programmes by youth and seasoned musicians and an annual Hamsadhwani festival. The couple has been magnanimous in presenting Hamsadhwani Puraskara to the great achievers of the field.
The 14th five-day Hamsadhwani music festival was held at Seva Sadana Hall, Malleswaram last week. Seasoned vocalist-brothers-duo Rudrapatnam Brothers were among others who were honoured with the Hamsadhwani Purasakara on Wednesday last.
The festival opened up with a fine duet by the Rudrapatnam Brothers. It was a worth noting anniversary toast indeed! The greatly admired musicians - R N Thyagarajan and R N Taranathan - gave a relaxed and positively cheerful vocal recital. Their warmth, charisma and interpretive skills were on impressive display and the concert afforded them opportunities for pointed phrasing and vivid music painting. Their voices have acquired a forceful and sombre character. The manodharmas functioned well in terms of delicacy and contrast, in addition to being overwhelmingly traditional and classically forceful.
The significance of their duets is that they have always been intensely interested in rendering a rare and solid repertoire. Accordingly, the duet under review also gave vocal aficionados plenty to celebrate. The brothers’ musical output was more-intimate and so methodically ranged and arranged that their very pure tone with an air of mystery was a joy to hear. In their singing their approach was cool and calm for the power and passion in the music they produced.
There was a dynamic range and depth in their voices to do justice to a fine sense of architecture for the compositions which they had selected to sing. The remarkable control over the varied laya heightened the dramatic impact of the show which was again effectively conveyed in their emotive and powerful voices. There were octave leaps, well-paced and artfully placed with flowing, highly ornamented lines, clearly revealing their unflinching allegiance to the tradition and classicism. I found their music captivating and in a tempo that allowed hearing all its nuances in a fine relief.
The rasikas were delighted to hear a rare varna Entho prematho in Suruti raga by Tiruvettiyur Tyaagayya sung in two kalas. The duo’s simplicity in singing enhances the understanding of the music and facilitates beauty and depth of feeling in every note. A quaint Thyagaraja krithi Muddumomu elagu set to Suryakantha raga was appealing. The vocalists impressed the listeners with a refined rendition of raga Manirangu and sent them into raptures by presenting a very rarely heard Swati Tiunal krithi Jaya jaya Padmanabhaanujesha. It was a most eloquent and well-built piece of music, spacious and long of line, canny in its deployment of melodic and lyrical colour and never miscalculating the shape of a movement.
The brothers proved outstanding recitalists through the detailed exposition of Kalyani raga for a Shyama Sastry krithi Thalli ninnu near nammi. The elaborations were another compositional standout of the concert. The phrasing was seamless, control of dynamics complete; at full throttle, they sang with astonishing power. They were also capable of producing soft, rounded notes that simply melted into silence. The text of the song was sung in a lovely and lucid manner. Artfully shaded responses from the accompanists Nalina Mohan (violin), H S Sudheendra (mridanga) and Giridhar Udupa (ghata) was another high point of the scholarly vocal duet.
A spirited and driving interpretation of some rare ragas and krithis marked the female vocal duet by the popular Priya sisters on Friday at Chowdaiah Memorial Hall during the Flights of Fantasy concert series held under the aegis of the famed Ganjam Nagappa and sons. Their music was wonderfully vital and emotionally convincing in captivating the lovers of music to the core. If one wanted to love music and classic tunes, they’d probably enjoy seeing and hearing what these beautiful sisters want to render. Even the complexities in the laya were endearing for the way they negotiated them and embellished their singing.
Singing with awesome ability and compelling presence the strains of Hamsadhwani for a rare krithi Paahi Paahi Baalaganapathe with swaras foretelling the ensuing feast of music. Thyagaraja’s Ennadu chootunu (Kalavathi raga) and Lokaavana chaturaa (Begade, with alapana and swaras) were enthralling. After a fine Punnagavarali for Ehi Annapoorne (Dikshitar), Shanmukhapriya was sung in detail. GNB’s Needaya galguno was prefaced with a scholarly and effective alapana followed by neraval and swaraprastara. The delineation of Mohana in the form alapana, neraval and swaravinyasa for Tiruvaroor Ramaswamy Pillai’s Jagadeeshwari was spicy.
A composition each of Annamacharya (Neevudevu) and Purandaradasa (Taarakka bindige) struck the right chord with the audience. Neyveli Skandasubramanyam (mridanga) and B S Purushottam (khanjari) were the lively accompanists. Before concluding their duet the Priya Sisters sang soulfully Sriranganatha Guru and Narayana stotra.