A Fetching Exposition of Ragas and Krithis

Gayathri Venkataraghavan’s vocal recital for Sri Seshadripuram Rama Seva Samithi at the Seshadripuram College auditorium during the 66th Sri Rama Navami music festival on Sunday was one worth catching.

Published: 28th April 2014 08:01 AM  |   Last Updated: 28th April 2014 08:15 AM   |  A+A-


Gayathri Venkataraghavan’s vocal recital for Sri Seshadripuram Rama Seva Samithi at the Seshadripuram College auditorium during the 66th Sri Rama Navami music festival on Sunday was one worth catching. The subtle yet responsive renditions of the seasoned vocalist immediately introduced a colour and atmosphere  to the concert.

She had a distinctive sweetness to her tone, allowing the darker colours of the melodies to shine in the softest and most withdrawn singing. As a culmination of all this, the performance summed up Gayathri’s style of subtle lyricism and perfect matching of colour and phrasing. It also led the musician in an exploration of the most intimate corners of the ragas and krithis. There was some high-quality exposition of the manodharma in this recital and she received well-deserved praise.

Embellished by a competent support from Nalina Mohan (violin), Naiveli Skanda Subramanyan (mridanga) and AV Kashinath (khanjira) she regaled the rasikas by singing Thyagaraja’s Vidajaludara in Janaranjani raga crisply. It was further beautified by a more crisper swaraprastara. Gayathri projected a sweet Kalyani for Purandaradasa’s Kallu sakkare kolliro. 

She found subtle ways to embellish the melody in a vivid and varied manner. And here was a performance of quite exceptional finesse, soft-grained in its notes traversing the sthayis. She imbued the pada with telling emotion.

 The line Kallu sakkare kolliro was sung in myriad appealing sangathees. The recital showed just why she has recently been attracting so much praise. She crowned the line with a two kaala swara vinyasa. To make it more captivating she changed the line in different ways like Purandara naama kallu sakkare, Krishna naama kallu sakkare and so on.  From the technical  standpoint the swaras were superb.

Interesting krithis

Though the Hyderabad brothers seemed to have been affected by cold they managed to sing a few interesting krithis in their duet held for Sri Rama Seva Mandali, Chamarajpet. Supported with mixed results by S. Varadarajan (violin) and Naiveli Venkateshan (mridanga) they began their recital a few minutes late with the Vasantha varna. Raghunayanaka (Hamsadhwani) with chittaiswaras and kalpanaswaras was impressive. After a long time I heard a leisurely delineation of Saama raga. The alapana contained some catchy phrases but it was surprising that the violinist was not given the opportunity of playing the alapana. As expected, Dikshitar’s Annapoorne Vishalakshi was sung in an enjoyable vilamba kala. Kamavardhini was the winning piece of the recital.

The alapana was shared by the brothers. A substantial picture of the raga was pretty good. A rarely sung Thyagaraja krithi Naradamuni vedalina was endearing.  The neraval at Narayananaama mulanu brought out the inherent emotion.

During the swaraprastara it was nice to hear a few phrases sans shadja and panchama. Another rare krithi Idi Samayamura in Chayanata was a welcome rendition. Mohana was the central point of the duet. The raga had a tri sthayi development and the mighty krithi Raara Rajeevalochana was sung. The neraval at the first line of the krithi was annexed with a scholarly swarakalpana.

Passionate duet

The Malladi Brothers---Ramaprasad and Ravikumar, showed that they are today’s finest duet singers at a time when we are inundated with brilliant young performers. This accomplished duo have evolved into a streamlined performing unit.

Technically they are superb, their account of Carnatic music highly charged, passionate and deeply emotional. They have the ability to select and render rare gems of ragas and krithis with deep understanding. The finesse of their performance in which nothing is over-emphasised, speaks for itself.  The soft-grained details of the music they produce immediately vouch for why these players are going places. They are really a perfect match. This is a duo, young but mature of insight, that renders the classical music with spirit, illuminating its blend of wit and sophistication, grace and vivacity and seemingly effortless spontaneity.

Their performance for Sri Seshadripuram Rama Seva Samithi, without exaggeration but with just the right degree of elucidation, revealed their music’s extraordinary originality. The vocalists moved together with absolute unanimity and this was reflected in the unity of their sound. In their wonderfully balanced duet intonation was spotlessly clean.

With high calibre accompanists like Embar Kannan (violin), Tumkur Ravishankar  (mridanga) and Tumkur Shashishankar (ghata) on their either side the Malladi Brothers were in their finest form. The lovers of classical music had a sumptuous feast of great ragas and krithis. Thyagaraja’s Seetha Lakshmana Sahitam (Athana) was rounded off with swaras. Undedi Ramudu in Harikambhoji was also studded with interesting kalpanaswaras. For a delightful change the alapana in Kalavathi raga was heard. Okapaari judaga by Thyagaraja was just moving. Reetigowla’s charm and beauty was totally captured by the brothers with authentic phrases. Nannu vidachi attached with swaras was yet another gem Dikshitar’s Arunachalanatham was hearty with its leisurely pace and classical weight.

The brothers need to be commended for according the prime place to the elaboration of Mukhari raga in the duet.  The mighty krithi Emani ne nee mahima was ornamented with ragalapana, neraval and swaravinyasa. They could explore the potential of their talent, manodharma and expertise thoroughly yet artlessly.

There was great wisdom and no self-indulgence to the slow movement as well as a creativity of sound, with restatements of the same phrase coloured differently each time. Unequivocally, it was a performance of terrific panache and perception.

Magnificent singing

The exceptional young vocalist Ramakrishnan Murthy gave a mature account of his talent in his vocal recital held on Tuesday at the same venue.  His singing is distinguished by a rare grace, an abandon of the soul and a magnificent ability to maintain the aesthetics and artistry of the classical Carnatic music.

As usual he was powerful, passionate and precise and triumphed in his vocal recital. It was vigorous and wonderfully authoritative singing in which breathlessness seemed a virtue and lyrical intensity its happy result. He offered renditions of refinement and polish throughout his recital. This was a fine concert, interestingly programmed and exceptionally involving in the way it was presented.

His committed performance launched into the opening with the popular yet demanding Kalyani atatala varna Vanajakshi. He saluted Angaraka, the deity of the day, by singing Dikshitar’s Navagraha krithi (Angarakamashrayamyaham) set to Surati raga. The neraval (Deena rakshaka) and swaras completed the salutation. He attached scholarly swaras to a briskly sung Thyagaraja’s Toline Jesina (Kokiladhwani). 

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