More like a boxing bout
FOR A musician to draw audience applause as frequently as possible is legitimate. But should it be through musical aggression or sensitivity is the question. If it is the former it relies on percussive activism in swara singing and assertiveness of raga sancharas at the expense of mellifluous impulses. In such a case, the voice abandons all lyrical softness and takes to assaulting momentum. This aspect symbolises the way Carnatic music is heading. With some senior musicians too the ``images of sound at their hands create the feeling that tonal loudness is vidwat. If such artistes reflect back on their performance, not judged by more applause, not by showmanship, but by musical delicacy, that would lead them to get a true insight into Carnatic music's nature and purpose. The creative process calls for more than mechanical contrived expressions. Graciousness and elegance, not tonal thrust, are the hallmarks of a good musician. While exploring new vistas of creativity, ignited passion for frenzied power-packed technique has to be laid aside. Few are aware of the damage this fiery approach to performing objective causes.
The cutcheri of Hyderabad Brothers, Seshachary and Raghavachari, induced such a reflection. There was a relentless pursuit to overwhelm ragas, kirtanas, neravals and swaras with propulsive force in articulation. In their performance for the Sri Parthasarathy Swami Sabha, Seshachari, the domineering partner, permitting very little say for Raghavachari, revealed his range was vast voice marathon-like and achievement spectacular but tonal mellifluence was the weak-spot. Much of the attraction emerged from hectic stridency. The alapanas of Kalyani and Todi were replete with these characteristics. The neraval and swaras for the line ``Tamarasa-Dala-Netri'' in the Kalyani song ``Amma-Raavamma'' gave one the illusion of a boxing ring with the brothers lavishing punches at each other. This was fertile ground for K.V. Prasad (mridangam) and T.V. Vasan (ghatam) to make the vocalists percussive dizzy in which they succeeded.
The kirtana session comprised ``Dasaratha-Nandana'' (Asaveri) ``Evarani'' (Devamrita Varshini) ``Smarane-Sukhamu'' (Janaranjani) and ``Nee-Vanti-Deivamu'' (Todi) M. A. Sundareswaran, on the violin took the same road to musical interpretation as the vocalists. It was a performance marked by exhibitionistic extravagance sans tenderness of melody.
The robust manneristic presentation by T.V. Sankaranarayanan stems from the sturdy strength of Carnatic music's roots. He set for himself a high standard of concert for ``Sunadham'' in which the flow and flowering of the ragas Kalyani, Hindolam and Kapi tickled the pleasure buds of the rasikas. There was a bouncing drive in rendering kirtanas, neravals and swaras, which was embroidered by the rich, intricate teka patterns from the mridangist Srimushmam Raja Rao. With Delhi Sunderrajan on the violin, who regaled the listeners with sensitive sancharas in Kapi, the three of them diligently saw to it that the cutcheri was out and out rasika-friendly. ``Vasudevayani'' (Kalyani) ``Saamaja- varagamana'' (Hindolam) and ``Inta-sowkhyamanine'' (Kapi) formed the core of the recital with clear swaras. The cutcheri pattern was meticulously chiselled. Vasundhara Rajagopal's voice has the natural endowment of Sowkhyam, which she uses to good effect. In her cutcheri for Naada Inbam, this quality greatly enhanced the appeal of the raga vistaras of Sahana (E. Vasudha) and Mukhari (Arivaar-Yaar-Unnai-Arivaar). Her main effort was Sankarabharanam in which she brought out the harmony between her voice and the beauty of the raga. Her open-throated negotiation of the tara sthayi sancharas in the three raga alapanas merited notice. The kirtana was ``swara-raga-sudha''. Her style in general may not share the glittering glamour associated with popular artistes, but has the merit of expositional grace and elegance. Her clear enunciation of the words of the songs helped rasikas enjoy the beauty of the sahityas. ``Sankari-ninne'' (Pantuvarali) ``Yochana- Kamalalochana'' (Durbar) helped maintain the tempo of the concert. S. Varadarajan, on the violin, carried the flavour of the recital with his solo sessions. Ganapathiram (mridangam) and Madippakkam Murali (ghatam) peppered the music with restrained beats.
Expressiveness without exaggeration, modesty in raga delineation containing swift and sombre movements marked the performance of Varalakshmi Anandkumar for Nadopasana. In the vistara of Kalyani and Karaharapriya, the motifs were clearly presented. Depth in rendering kirtanas and raga sancharas was achieved through the use of her natural voice uniformly in both the madhyama and tarasthayis. The impressiveness of the Kalyani and Karaharapriya expositions rested on the well arranged sanchara sketches. A little bit of refinement would have enhanced the appeal of her music. In the song session, ``Nannu-vidichi'' (Ritigowla) without alapana and swaras stood out in its inherent emotional content. ``Unnaiyallaal'' (Kalyani) and ``Chakkaniraja'' (Karaharapriya) lent weight and dignity to the performance. ``Vallabha- Naayakasya'' (Begada) ``Sri-pathe'' and ``Karthikeya'' (Nagaswaravali) (Valaji) served as appetiser. Akkarai Subbulakshmi asserted her individuality in raga alapanas and swara sessions. Ganapatiraman (mridangam) was in his familiar percussive turf. SVK
Send this article to Friends by