Today’s carnatic music stands between traditional conservatism and overwhelming performing liberalism. Seasoned vidwans still serve to uphold the grandeur and depth of sampradaya Carnatic music. The question is, are they crowd pullers? If not, what exactly attracts the audience? The moot question cannot be answered.
These thoughts came to my mind on hearing vocalist Jesudoss for the Chennai Cultural Academy at Rama Rao Kalyana Mandapam, whose concert was like a magic in the air, melody filling in the atmosphere, making the appreciative audience to listen with rapt attention. Jesudoss’s music descended on the gathering of rasikas like a benediction and quite appropriately, he chose, to invoke the blessings of Lord Ganesha (Sri Gananatham Bhajamyaham) of Thyagaraja in the raga Kanakangi with the three-note swaras.
Following that he rendered the inevitable (Bhavana Guru) of Lalitha Dasar in the raga Hamsanandhi. Then came Thyagaraja’s immortal classic Bala Kanaka Maya in the raga Atana.
It was admirable that he chose to unfold the uniqueness of Carnatic music in the raga Keeravani (Kaligiyumte Gada) of Thyagaraja and presented it with a sensitive combination of gnana and naya with his strength of voice.
The characteristic feature of Jesudoss’s music is that his melody stimulates music and music, in response, lands itself in melody.
In his elaboration of raga (Shadvidamargni) Prathimadyama Raga of Natakapriya (Madurambham Bhajarae Maanasa) and in his sober interpretation of raga Charavaham (Yadukula Thilaka) of Garpapuri Dasar, he virtually placed the concert on a brisk orbit with stucco swaras in vinyasam making it extremely exhilarating.
His rendition of (Ksheerasagara) in Raga Devaganthari, upon the request of the audience, was high-spirited and added to the excitement of the viewers.
While Nagai Muralidharan (Violin) matched the brimming buoyancy of the vocalist, Trichy Harikumar (mridangam) and Vaikam Gopalakrishnan (ghatam) were quite at ease with the vocalist’s technique.