A mixed bag
At their recent concert, Binny and Krishnakumar complemented each other very well.
RADIANT: Krishnakumar and Binny Krishnakumar.
Binny Krishnakumar (yes, of the Chandramukhi `Ra Ra' fame) and Krishnakumar make a handsome pair musically and otherwise.
Their vocal chords bear independent charm. The Krishnakumars easily complement each other with passion and well, at times, nonchalance. Their combined effort as a concert for the legendary but recently rejuvenated Bhairavi Gana Sabha (started in 1928) turned out to be a mixed bag.
The programme was a theme concert, "Gopalaka Pahimam." It had a lively start with "Sadinchane" in Arabi towed by "Rakshamam Charanagatham" in Nattai.
The radiant swara sahitya in the Pancharatnam and the sparkling swaras by both Binny and Krishnakumar in Nattai compensated for the perceptible lack of coordination. A concentrated, honeyed treatise of Ritigowla in the dulcet voice of Binny provided the best preface to the lilting "Brindavana Nilaye." Then the concert almost tilted in favour of Krishnakumar.
Krishnakumar's voice may just sound like any other attractive, robust masculine one; but once he sets his mind and starts modulating it with involved articulation it assumes incredible range and depth. The examples in this case were Bhoopalam ("Gopalaka Pahimam") and the main Subapantuvarali ("Sri Satya Narayanam").
In the latter, the first segment was treated on the solid Carnatic base while the second traversed on the style of Hindustani. Binny's syrupy interludes were just like icing Krishnakumar's enticing presentation.
The duo could do well in kalpanaswara trades. But raga essays and neraval could be set to move more in an organised and specially styled way to suit their voices and talent. The balancing of volume forms an integral part if the singing duo is a male-female combo. The tenor and depth differ and therefore the volume control and adjustment to project both voices in equal levels need extra care. This was noticeably inadequate in this concert.
The post `tani' bits included the mandatory Ashtapadi, tillana in ragas like Misra Yamuna Kalyani, Sindhubhairavi, but with lesser lustre. A better choice on familiar numbers (is there a dearth of popular songs on Krishna?) would have provided greater impact.
V. V. Srinivasa Rao, Mannarkoil Balaji and N. Guruprasad added their contribution on the violin, mridangam and ghatam respectively, in a balanced way.
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