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Superficial brilliance

THAT CARNATIC music is more than just jugglery of a glorified glamorous voice was well confirmed in the cutcheri of K. J. Yesudas.

The characteristic feature in his effort was the ostentatious vocal profligacy, which seemed to paralyse his faculty of moderation to such an extent as to feign melodic sovereignty.

Willingly surrendering to this vocal lure, his singing had all the trappings of superficial brilliance. Quite unconcerned about patantara or pantha, he rendered five Tyagaraja kirtanas "Sudaa Maadurya Bhaashana" (Sinduramakriya) "Baala Kanakamaya" (Atana) "Teliyaleru Rama" (Dhenuka) "Sripathe" (Nagaswarali) and "Ksheera Saagara Sayana" (Devagandhari) in succession. Though no holds barred his recital of the songs, one wonders at the genius of Tyagaraja that his compositions land themselves admirably to any harsh expository treatment ranging from the allergic to the audacious.

The ragas he took up for alapana were Isamanohari "Sri Gananaatham" (a composition of Muthuswami Dikshitar) Sinduramakriya and Nagaswarali. Nagai Muralidharan, the violinist, in his solo versions, cleared any ambiguity in the minds of listeners.

For all the razzle-dazzle of the vocalist, Tiruvarur Bhaktavatsalam was surprisingly gentle with muffled beats, in his mridangam accompaniment. Tiruponithura Radhakrishnan was the ghatam artiste.

Fast paced concert

Priya sisters are professionally competent, but for appreciation of their music a rasika had to race along with them in jet speed. Artistry at their hands was riveted to unremitting brighas that shoot up like rockets and tumble down like meteoric showers.

Visranti in their reckoning does not seem to be vital for Carnatic music.

Attractiveness was linked to pacy accentuation of sancharas in raga alapanas and sangatis in kirtanas. There was evidence of musical maturity but not matched by expressional serenity.

Of the two sisters, Haripriya was exuberant in delineating Sahana, Subhapantuvarali, the early movements initiated by Shanmukhapriya, and Sankarabharanam for ragam, tanam and pallavi.

Sahana, extensively outlined with swirling phrasings, failed in its impact, for the raga does not budge to bare its charms to speedy overtures. Akkarai Subbulakshmi, began Sahana well, but accompanying dharma compelled her to take to the fast track like the vocalist.

The song list included "Siddhi Vinayakam" (Mohana Kalyani) "Sri Kamalaambikaayaam" (Sahana) "Marugelara" (Jayanti Sri) and "Ennaalu" (Subhapantuvarali). Of these, the Sahana piece alone was soothingly sung. The violinist followed the vocalists like a shadow.

M.L.N. Raju the mridangist and Madipakkam Murali (ghatam) kept the laya wing with enough care and vibrancy.

Rendered with feeling

In the afternoon bracket, the Sattur Sisters sang with due respect to patantara suddham of songs and the purity of their structure and sangatis.

The Devagandhari kirtana "Kshitijaa Ramanam" and "Rama Ninne Namminaanu" (Huseni) were rendered with deep feeling. "Nannu Brovu Lalite" (Lalita), "Sadaananda Thaandavam" (Bahudari) and "Seshachala Naayakam" (Varali with alapana) were the other items that lent dignity to the performance. Tiruvallur Parthasarathy was the violinist.

Erode Nagaraj on the mridangam lent distinction to percussive support.

The patterns served to heighten the impact of the songs.

Lacked finesse

Earlier was the performance of H.S. Prasanth, accompanied by A.G. Venkatasubramanian (violin) and Arjun Ganesh (mridangam). There were streaks of the imitative instinct of his guru, K.V. Narayanaswamy, without any finesse. The cutcheri was very much below par _ SVK

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