Sunday, November 8, 2009

Concert of Gayathri Venkatraghavan on 4.11.09

(Central Lecture Theatre, IIT Chennai at 7pm)
Vocal: Gayathri Venkataraghavan
Violin: Mysore Shrikanth
Mrudangam: Erode Nagaraj
Ghatam: Chandhrasekara Sharma.
Concerts on rainy days turn awesome and become memorable most of the times; ringing in the mind just like when you think of jasmine you feel the fragrance somewhere. The dark clouds between the people and the sky, chill atmosphere and flooded roads gain significance naturally as the weather brings an impact on voice, instruments and on audience attendance. However, we were able to see the stars of tomorrow as the concert happened in the IIT Campus. Looking at the roads coated with thin layer of water, surrounded by trees, deers and dears, one would easily wish to start a concert with a poetic viruththam like "sAyankAle... vanAnthE... kuSumitha samayE..."
When Gayathri started with vignarAja krupA sindhO and added warmth to the AC auditorium with kAmbOji varNam, the majesty and slower tempo of it, conveyed in a corner of my mind, that this is going to be a real classic evening and she did ishta poorthi too. I liked her singing “ma,, nidhama, padha nidhama...” portion twice.
That was followed by dhanyudevadO in malayamArutham with madhyama kAla niraval and swaram at vara madhdhaLA. Now, I would like to say, she was set all right for a concert packed with soul filling renditions. She delivered varALi in an unhurried but never lagging manner and jAru prAdhAnyam was floating everywhere her voice travelled and sustained.
When the phrases are poetic and complete, the silence modifies into music with real values. Unlike the peace that one gets after the end of any noisy situation, this is the silence, which places you in comfort and enables you to be enjoying an unsung extension in your ears. Your expectations find it difficult to wander more as the sancharams, the beauty of rAga, captures your heart and your mind starts singing along with whatever is happening.
Listening to good sketches of known ragas is a feeling that someone describes how great your kid is and sometimes tells certain fascinating things about them which you are not aware. Her AlApanas in varAli, shree and bhairavi proved the above said and I think she is navigating to a different level of music.
karuNa jUdavamma, one of the best krithis of SS, was sung in a tempo that would have been 60 pulses per minute and she did an impressive niraval at SyAma krishNudu jEsina bhAgyamE tagged with keezh kAla and madhyama kAla swarAs.

Niraval is a place where one line is repeated often. When I was in Erode, might have been in sixth or seventh standard, I heard BMK’s pancharathna krithis cassette and got surprised to hear him singing two types of jagathAnandha kArakA. One sangathi (goes up) for swaram and one sangathi (comes down) for sAhithyam. Then, in rAmanavami concerts, LGJ and N.Ramani surprised with varities of endharo in every charaNam. Then I heard TNS’s unpredictable variations for 'mathurA puri nilaiyE' (heard a replay of that after a long time, TNS-MC-UKS at Nungambakkam Cultural Academy). Gayathri displayed many varieties that jell with the improvisations of niraval in varALi.
shrI rAma nAmam bhajanai sei manamE, in atANA came next. I have played for nee irangAyenil lot of times, but, now only playing for this krithi of sivan. A nice one and it contributed a contrast in terms of tempo, which some would like to call as an energy piece. Actually, to sing and emote in lower tempos, one needs enormous energy and power as they need to take care of both bhAva-laden sangathis along with singing in the slower kAlapramANam and it is a bit difficult only, even when someone is providing the rhythmic support.
Though the mrudangam artiste takes care of the pace, there are many places in such viLamba kAla krithis, where the pause ornaments the krithi (taking care of the ‘rest’). Just like, you look more beautiful, if you take off the raincoat, when you are decently dressed up and especially when it is not raining. Also, it should not be a role of a pillion rider who always screams, “hey... look a water tanker... aahaa... now a pallavan... see the guy on the bike... take left and don’t turn right!!”
I pay my sincere praNAms (obviously, prANa lies in arms for we mrudangam artistes) to UKS sir who made me realise many niceties of this music and embellishments provided according to improvisations apart from just filling with endings.
May be, the shree rAgam is still in my ears and I was reminded of endharO! She presented a good AlApanai and a clear rendition of the valuble krithi ‘thyAgarAja mahAdhvajArOha thAraka brahma rUpam ASrayE’. Thanks to bharath for that request. I remember reading a write up of R.K.Shriramkmar’s lec-dem in rams abode.
Found it: (ram, where are you?)
parAku jEsina in jujAhuLi (thyAgaraja- Adhi) was nice. UKS sir has mentioned about how Kallidaikurichi Mahadheva Bhagavathar used to sing this. Therefore, naturally I fell in love with the composition.
She took up bhairavi for main. bAlagOpAla..? janani mAmava...? mmhmm... Annaswamy Sasthri’s ‘shrI lalithE kanchi nagara nivAsini mahA thrupurasundhari mAmpAhi’ in Adhi. Ravi in dark is to throw some light, I think. It was well developed, stage by stage (and rajesh, I did not make note of time). The composer says 'chiththam athi chapalam'and asks kAmAkshi to keep it in control, reminding ‘Sanakararin moondrAvadhu vazhi’ like markata kiSora-mArjAra kiSora nyAyams.
Mysore Shrikanth played nicely and his AlApanais and swara prasthArams were ramyams. I have mentioned about the theory, when something exists in the name, it will not be in their personality. what Shree can't? Myself and Chandru played chathusram and kaNda gathi. Gayathri was planning to sing an RTP in nAttakurinji, but skipped it owing to time factor. She sang the lines of pallavi to the audience, as they seemed interested in knowing...
"SukumAranai kumAranai mARanai manamE... nee ninai dhinamE..."
She sang a viruththam “pAl ninaindhoottum thAyinum sAlap parindhu” in dhanyAsi and hamsAnandhi followed by swathi thirunal’s “shankara shrI giri nAtha prabhO” and mangaLam.

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