This year, Krishnashtami falls on September 4. Sri Guruvayurappan Bhajan Samaj Trust has already begun pre-Krishnashtami celebrations with a series of music programmes. Its 38th Gokulashtami has been featuring top-notch Karnatak musicians during the evenings.
So we saw U Rajesh, the prodigious brother of late mandolin wizard U Srinivas, evoking nostagia with his playing technique and mastery over the instrument. This concert was thrilling and dazzling as it offered us dextrous instrumental play with lyrical felicity that perfectly matched the compositions.
Rajesh began with the Kaanada varna (Chalamela). The krithi Siddhi Vinayakam in Shanmukhapriya raga lent a lively tempo to the recital. Thyagaraja’s pancharathna krithi Jagadanandakaaraka solidified the tempo. One was delighted to hear a comprehensive Devagandhari in an enjoyable pace for that majestic Thyagaraja krithi Sheeraasagara shayana. The rendition of Girirajasutha (Bangala) added to the musical ambience. In this prevailing musically charged atmosphere, he handled raga Hindola in a compact manner. As expected the krithi Saamajavaragamana unfolded impressively.
The concert brimmed with sweet and scholarly music. Reetigowla raga in a laudable vilamba kaala and beautified by all instrumental flourishes won the approval of the rasikas.
The krithi Janani ninnuvina had clarity. It was a joy to hear Devaadideva (Sunaada Vinodini raga).
He accorded the prime place of his concert to the delineation of Keeravani raga and Kaligiyunte gadhaa. It was sketched with extraordinary virtuosity and clarity. His interpretation of the terribly difficult rhythmic swaras was masterful.
His explorations of the broad and rich horizons of raga and bhaava offered, above all, a spiritual experience. On the same lines as Srinivas, Rajesh packed the latter part of his recital with pleasing and popular canticles featuring Teraadha vilayattu pillai (ragamalika consisting of Sindhu Bhairavi, Khamach, Shanmukhapriya and Maand ragas), Tungaatheera virajam (Saalaga Bhairavi), Kaliyugavaradhan (Brindavana Saranga) and others.
The accompanists Sridhar (violin), Arjun Kumar (mridanga) and Guruprasanna (khanjira) successfully offered support.
The debut Bharatnatyam performances of Veena Nidhi as Guru and her disciple Jayaradika Janardanan as shishya, held on Saturday at the JSS Auditorium, were delightful.
Veena Nidhi, a disciple of veteran Guru Radha Sridhar donned the role of a teacher triumphantly. Her skills and hard work got effectively reflected in Jayaradika’s performance.
Retaining the traditional and classical colour, the dance recital was a reiteration of how well-nurtured our cultural roots are in the diaspora. Opening with a Hamsadhwani Pushpanjali, Lord Ganesha was saluted with the aid of Sowrashtra raga krithi Sri Ganapathini sevimpa. The interspersed Jathis paved the way for a taut nritta. The Devamanohari jathiswara saw Jayaradika in great spirits. The jathis, swaras and teermanas were negotiated with ease. A familiar shabda woven around Lord Krishna and His leelas Sarasijakshudu jalakamaade (ragamalika) was enacted with success.
Even a forlorn heroine in the Nattakuranji varna could not dampen the dancer’s spirits. While the arudis in the charanam sparkled, the speed in some teermanas was pointed. The nritta, nrithya and abhinaya elements were well taken care of. Everything was proportionate and precise. Jayaradika made a striking picture of grace, dignity, good posture and footwork. This got manifested in the rendition of a famous Bilahari krithi on Goddess Sri Chamundeshwari. It began with chittaiswaras. She was vigorous while highlighting the fiery face of Sri Mahishasura Mardini on the basis of Ayagiri Nandini. Veena Nidhi (nattuvanga) was adept with the cymbals. The dancer was ably supported by an ensemble comprising of Vinay Rajamanya (vocal), H.S.Venugopal (flute), Madhusudan (violin) and Ramesh (mridanga).
Clear and lucid
That C. Kavya is the student of veteran Guru B.K. Vasanthalakshmi is enough recommendation. Accompanied by her Guru Vasanthalakshmi (nattuvanga), D.S.Srivatsa (vocal), Dr. Natarajamurthy (violin) and Harsha Samaga (mridanga), Kavya’s Bharatnatyam offerings were short and simple.
Opening with an authoritative Pushpanjali Kavya demonstrated that she really understood the quirky rhythms in the wonderful pieces to follow. The Malayamarutha jathiswara was explored in the noteworthy combinations of jathis and adavus. The Shabda (Sarasijakshudu, ragamalika) accounted for Kavya’s abhinaya. Impressive postures and fluidity were maintained during the pure dance movements and abhinaya in the rendition of Bhairavi varna addressed to Murugha (Velanai vara cholladi). She was graceful through the brief nritta passages. There was clarity and lucidity not only in the varna but also in the post interval items like Javali (Pokiritanamu, Jhanjhoti raga, depiction of a khanditha nayaki), Pradosha samayadi (Poorvi Kalyani, vibrant depiction of tandava of Lord Shiva), Jaganmohanane Krishna and so on. The most impressive being the delineations of Krishna leelas.
— Dr M SURYA PRASAD