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Blend of class and melody


WHILE SOME music concerts stand out for their class touch, melody holds the upper hand in some others. It is rarely that the two streams are blended perfectly. Among the stalwarts, Dr. Balamuralikrishna does it with comfortable ease. His disciple, Thiruvananthapuram Krishnakumar, who has been sharpening his concert skills under his guidance for the last few years in Chennai, infused a Balamurali touch to his concert held at the S.N.D.P. Hall, Mamangalam, recently by successfully blending the two streams. The concert was organised in connection with the third anniversary of the Bharatheeya Sangeetha Sabha, a dream project of Sangeetha Vidwan M. R. Madhusoodana Menon, who has trained generations of budding musicians for nearly half a century.

Inaugurating the function, Mr Menon reminded music students of the fact that only 10 per cent of skills are achieved through formal training. Echoing the views of Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar, he stressed the need for imbibing lessons by listening to the concerts of accomplished artistes.

Young Krishnakumar, who had established a name in Thiruvananthapuram before migrating to Chennai, has matured fast into one of the most promising vocalists of his generation. His is a family of musicians. His wife Binni Krishnakumar is an equally accomplished vocalist who has learnt music under the guidance of Dr. Omanakutty, B. Sasikumar, Neyyattinkara Mohanachandran etc. A couple of years ago, the couple created history by becoming the first husband-wife duo to render concerts together. Her elder brother Thodupuzha Manojkumar, a disciple of B.Sasikumar, is an accomplished violinist, now working as a lecturer at the Swati Tirunal College of Music, Thiruvananthapuram. A few years ago, the brother-sister combination attracted public attention through their association with Nadamadhuri, an Asianet programme presented by Kaithapram Damodaran Namboodiri.

At the concert, Krishnakumar was accompanied by Manojkumar on the violin, Dr.Babu, a disciple of Karaikudi Mani, on the mridangam and Thiruvananthapuram Karthikeyan on the ghatam.

Before the concert, Krishnakumar referred to the fact that Bharatheeya Sangeetha Sabha is probably the only one of its kind promoted by a music teacher and his disciples. He said this has prompted him to choose raga `Gurupriya' for his ragam, thanam, pallavi, composed by him, invoking the blessings of Gurus. He began the concert with the varnam `Balagopala... ' in Amrithavarshini composed by Balamuralikrishna. The central piece was Tyagaraja's `Dasarathe... ' in Thodi. But what endeared him to the listeners was Tyagaraja's `Abhimanmule... ' in Hamir Kalyani, the Carnatic counterpart of Hindustani raga Kedar. Manodharma element blossomed in both the `krithis' through patient raga elaboration and `swaravinyasa.' The Hamir Kalyani piece naturally imparted a Hindustani touch to the concert. It was noteworthy that even the varnam was preceded by a brief alapana of Amrithavarshini. There were also a few bits including Deekshitar's `Panchamatangamukha... ' in Malahari and Swati Tirunal's `Bhogindrasayinam... ' in Kundalavarali.

M. K. BALAGOPAL

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