Novel Instrumental Ensembles Create Magic

Published: 03rd November 2014 06:05 AM  |   Last Updated: 03rd November 2014 06:05 AM   |  A+A-

BENGALURU: Though the concept of an instrumental ensemble or vadya vrinda is essentially Western, it is not unknown to Indian classical music. We have a good number of instrumental ensembles based on Indian classical raga and tala music. Some are exclusively focused on laya(rhythm).

New dimensions are being added to the ever-changing scenario of classical music ensembles. New ensembles are coming up with novel ideas. One such novelty caught the attention of music lovers at Seva Sadana, Malleswaram, last Saturday. Nada Tarangini Vaibhava, conceptualised by veteran musician B R Sridhar, was impressive.


The ensemble had an enchanting grouping of string, wind, key and percussion instruments. Konnakkol (recitation of rhythmic phrases) also featured in the short tani avartana. The emotional content of the music, with traditional tonality and harmony, was sustained throughout the presentation.

A combination of musical expertise and scholarship produced melodies in which the classical Carnatic world sprang back to life. The selection of instruments was specially designed for the group. This attention to detail showed in the meticulous quality of the orchestration. Every piece was a work of careful craftsmanship.

The veena players headed by Meena Murthy and Jyothi Chetan demonstrated their commanding presence, thoughtful and effective phrasing, and masterful playing. Vijayalakshmi Raghu, Pushpa Raju, Anuracha Rajkumar, Tulasi Ram Mohan and Shubha Satish were the other veena vidushis who formed the ‘saptha matrikas’. Tellingly and tautly accompanied by Mysore Dayakar (violin), Mukund (flute), Maruthi Prasad (key board), Renukaprasad and Vadiraj Bhat (mridangas), Shivashankarswamy (tabla) and Srinivasan (ghata), the Nada Tarangini ensemble performed with passion. The performance was marked by virtuosity, scholarship and a tremendous stage presence.

It was interesting to note that Sridhar, director of the ensemble, mridangist and vocalist, had composed the music in a unique way. The scales of melodies (saptha swaras like sa ri ga ma pa da ni) formed with prakrithi swaras (sa and pa) with a changing combination of vikrithi swaras (like shuddha, charaushra and so on) resulting in twelve swaras being delineated neatly in about ten minutes in an enticing manner.

It was a magnificent work indeed! The music came off as a vibrant and living thing. Starting with a fine Kalyani raga, they moved on to Revagupthi, Bilahari, Hindola, Valachi, Khamach, Amrithavarshini, Bahudari, Shubhali (a rare derivative of Shubhapantuvarali raga), Vasantha, Udayaravichandrike, and Nalinakanthi to represent the twelve swaras. These ragas were elaborated with a prefaced short overture. Generally as is the case with instrumental ensembles, there was no scope for broadening of musical imagination, but the artistes could unveil their talent, understanding and scholarship. The ensemble turned out to be a well-informed and well-rehearsed performance.

The melodies easily covered many less-travelled areas of the repertoire. The presentation had musical depth and theatrical flair. The change in the tala and laya patterns were also enriching and endearing.

Exceptional musicianship of both the director Sridhar and the members of the ensemble, exemplary instrumental values and uncompromising artistry and technique extended even to their specially designed and matching set of instruments. The sound and impact of the works was admirable.

Bharatanatya beauties

Harishitha, Supriya, Sharanya, Sanjana and Harshini, Bharatanatya students of veteran dance guru Rajalakshmi of Nataraja Nrithyalaya, amazed rasikas with their promising talent at ADA Rangamandira. They shone forth in a programme held under the title Nupura Namana. They were in tandem and went through the compositions with great interest, dedication and devotion. Their hardwork and love for dance was evident throughout their performance. More than 12 compositions were rendered with passion.

Accompanied efficiently by their guru Rajalakshmi (nattuvanga), Srivatsa (vocal) and others, the curtain went up with a traditional Nataraja Kauthuvam and Pushpanjali. It was interesting to note that an excerpt from  a instrumental jugalbandhi of flautist Praveen Godkhindi served as a base for Pushpanjali. This was followed by a perfect rendition of mishra alarippu and Amritavarshini jatiswaras. The dancers visually delighted the rasikas with their fine nritta. Lord Shiva’s traits were enacted beautifully with the help of Shiva Panchakshari. Devi stuti was interpreted in Vagadheeshwari raga. The Annamacharya krithi Bhavambula, a javali,  and Purandaradasa’s Yashode amma vouched for the dancers’ abhinaya skills. The textual import was appropriately translated into a praiseworthy abhinaya. The swinging Srinivasa Kalyana and a vibrant tillana provided a haunting finale to the dance recital.


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