Date:17/10/2008 URL:
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Mellifluous ragas


Music concerts at Swaralaya Dance and Music festival in Palakkad were a wholesome experience.

Melodious renderings: (left to right) Trivandrum Krishnakumar and Binny Krishnakumar, Athira Krishna and Bombay Jayasree.

The annual Swaralaya Dance and Music Festival commenced at Rappadi Auditorium in Palakkad, with a ganamela. On the second day, music director Sharreth gave a Carnatic vocal recital. After Balamurali’s Varnam ‘Amma Anandadayini’ in Gambhiranattai, he gave a beautiful sketch of Hamsadhvani. The innovative swaraprastharams in ‘Vatapiganapathim’ also made a mark. The ragamalika swara-patterns in Todi lent charm. V.V. Suresh (violin) and Kuzhalmannam Ramakrishnan (mridangam) gave good support.

Rewarding experience

T.M. Krishna began his concert on the third day with a brisk ‘Ma Janaki’ (Kambhoji-Tyagaraja). His expositions of Hameerkalyani and Reethigowla and the portrayal of the krithis ‘Gangeya Vasanadara’ (Swati Tirunal) and ‘Janani Ninnuvina’ (Subbaraya Sastri), left an indelible impression on the listeners.

The permutations and combinations he wove in the swaraprastharams were a treat to hear. M.A. Sundareswaran on the violin was at his best with superb versions of Hameerkalyani and Reethigowla. K. Arunprakash’s ‘tani’ was replete with subtle touches.

Hindustani vocalist Sagarika Pradhan displayed her abundant talent the next day. For her performance she chose the theme ‘Radha-Krishna prema,’ and made the best use of her wide vocal range. Her first song ‘Priya suna’ was in raga Bagesree. Other songs which conveyed the various facets of the main theme were ‘Kaise sakhi’ in Misra Malhar, ‘Kone gari kahe Shyam’ in Pahadi and Desh, ‘Garava naahi’ in Maaru Behag and ‘Bol bol mose Nandakumar’ in Kedar. ‘Avatuma aye’ was a combination of flute and voice, without rhythm. The final item ‘Sajani mere ghar ah,’ describing the reunion of Radha and Krishna, was a fusion song. Parsuram Das (flute) and Harish Chandra Roy (tabla) enhanced the beauty of the songs.

A vocal concert by Kavalam Sreekumar was held on the sixth day. The concert gained momentum with ‘Mamavasadhajanani’ in Kaanada (Swati Tirunal).The elaboration of the rare raga, Lavangi, had some bright spots and the kriti was Balamuralikrishna’s ‘Omkaarakarini.’ The alapana of Kalyani, with perfect emphasis on the jeeva swaras, made an impact as did his rendition of Dikshitar’s immortal composition, ‘Kamalambam Bhajare.’ Vayalur Rajendran (violin), Chertala Dinesh (mridangam) and Paravur Gopakumar (morsing) teamed up well, to provide support.

In tune

Vocalist duo Trivandrum Krishnakumar and his wife Binny, showed good stage presence the next day. They rendered Balamuralikrishna’s ‘Mahaneeya Namassulive’ in raga Sumukham, with aplomb. The duo’s presentation of Tyagaraja’s ‘Varanaradha Narayana’ in Vijayasri, brought out the mood of the kriti. The rarely heard kriti ‘Sri Chamundeswari Paalayamam’ was impressive as was the ragamalika swaras in Saveri, Surya, Reethigowlai, Sumanesaranjani, Behag and Malayamarudham. The accompanists Thodupuzha Manojkumar (violin), Nanjil Arul (mridangam) and Anjal Krishna Iyer (ghatam) coordinated well with the artistes.

Young violinist Athira Krishna impressed the listeners with a fine solo performance the following day. Two distinct traits of her style were evident: one, the confidence and effortless ease with which she handled the instrument and second, her good ‘patanthara.’ The highlights of her recital were the delectable alapanas of Hamsadhvani (Vatapi-Dikshitar), Saramathi (Mokshamugaladha-Thyagaraja), Dwijawanthi (Akhilandeswari-Dikshitar) and Hindolam (ragam, taanam and pallavi). K. Sekhar on the tavil and Palghat Maheshkumar on the mridangam gave able support.

Bangalore G. Ravikiran offered wholesome classical fare, with his vocal recital on the penultimate day. Substituting for the indisposed P. Unnikrishnan, Ravikiran established an instant rapport with the audience, with the opening pieces Dikshitar’s ‘Vallabha Nayakasya’ ( Begada) and Tyagaraja’s ekaikaraga kriti ‘Nenarunchira’ in raga Simhavahini. He did justice to Bhairavi (‘Baalagopala’- Dikshitar). Eswara Varma (violin), Vaikom Venugopal (mridangam), Kottayam Unnikrishnan (ghatam) and Kottayam Muralidharan (morsing) performed their supporting roles well.

On the concluding day, Bombay Jayasree opened with the krithis ‘Sree Saraswathi Namosthuthe’ (Aarabhi-Dikshitar) and ‘Pagayanayya’ (Chandrajyothi-Thyagaraja). Her delineation of Aabheri was mellifluous and Vasudevachar’s ‘Bhajare re Maanasa’ was a welcome choice. She embellished it with chiselled kalpana swaras. She concluded the concert with graceful rendering of ‘Kanna vaa manivanna va’ (Madhuvanthi) and Lalgudi Jayaraman’s famous tillana in Desh.

Embar Kannan’s violin accompaniment was melodious. Poongulam Subramanian (mridangam) and Karthik (ghatam) also made significant impression with their brief ‘tani.’ The festival also featured Bharathanatyam, Kuchipudi, Kathak, Odissi and Mohiniyattam dance performances by reputed artistes and ganamelas by famous singers.

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