Tuesday, 3 May 2016

2016 May 03 Bangalore S Shankar Charulata Ramanujam KUJayachandra Rao BR Ravikumar @ SRSM


Vocal: Vid. Bangalore S Shankar  (BSS)
Vocal Support: Vid. Shankar Ramani (SR)
Violin: Vid. Charulata Ramanujam  (CR)
Mridanga: Vid. KUJayachandra Rao 
Ghata: Vid. BR Ravikumar 

Occasion / Venue: 78th Ramanavami National Music Festival, Sree Ramaseva Mandali, Fort High School 

01 chalamEla jEsEvura sArasa varNa shankarAbharaNa khanda Ata swAthi thirunAL

02 siddhi VinAyakam shaNmukhapriya rUpakA m.dhIkshithar (A, S)
Swara @ prasiddha gANa nAyakam 

03 bhajarE rE mAnasa shrI AbhEri rUpaka x2 mysore vAsudevAcAr (O)

04 shrI venkatEsham tODi chaturaSra rUpaka pUci srinivAsa iyengAr (A, N, S)
Nereval @ mArajanakam mAdhva nAmakam 

05 srIdhara keEshava nArAyaNa kalyANa vasantha Adi nAdOpAsana srInivAsan (O)

06 pakkAla nilabaDi kharaharapriyA tripuTa tyAgarAja (A, N, S)
Nereval @ tanuvu che bandhana 

07 akhilAndEshwari rakshamAm dhwijAvanthi Adhi m.dhIkshithar

08 RTP shankarAbharaNa chaturaSra triputa 2 kaLai 1 beat eDupu
pallavi line: dAsharathe karuNA payOnidhe inakula tilaka

09 rAgamAlika shlOka
shringAram kshitinandini ... khamAs
vIram  dhanurbhanjane..  aTANA
kAruNyam bali bhOjane..  sahAna
adbhuta rasah sindhou..   rEvati  
hAsyam  shUrpanakha...   mOhana 
bhaya maghe..  ranjani   
rOudram rAvaNa mardane.. KApi  followed by 

11 shringa purAdhIshwari shAradE kalyANi Padmacharan (AV Krishnamachar)

12 manave mantralaya shudha sarang Adhi AVKrishnamachar

13 tirupathi vEnkata ramanA sindubhairavi Adhi purandaradAsar

14 thillAna (Dhim nanana tillillana tillana) brindAvani Balamuralikrishna

15 nInAma rUpamulaku mangaLa sourAshtra Adhi thyAgarAja

I recently came across a graffiti: "Music isn't like sports or modelling. Its not something that if you dont reach your goals by age of 25, you're finished. Your playing will only get better as you gow older and wiser. The best music days are ahead of you." If this was designed,with someone in mind, it was the junior RTP concert that was going on as I entered sabha yesterday. Dr. Seshaprasad was practicing something true to his profession: PRACTICE ON THE JOB !!. [ Nice business practice - cause toothache in the audience when they grind their teeth on hearing the "Bhairavi" - the treat them :), Pun intended ].

It was a  "trial and terror" concert when he was attempting to sing bhairavi ! He was almost demonstrating how not to sing on stage ! I may save the ears and teeth of others by sharing this piece of experience, that I pray others should not undergo. Hope he will grow more experienced and tinkered by his next concert :). However, appreciate his efforts to balance his vocational committments and passion. 

As the main artists occupied the stage, Subtle and short mic check indicated the voice sounded fine fettle. An indicator of good things to come around in the evening after a trecherous 30 mins of the junior concert. 

The concert started with a sedate and soulful rendition of the popular shankarAbhara varNam (2 swAti thirunAl starters in 2 days), with each line being sung twice and in two speeds. Vid Shankar Ramani (SR) filled in the silence by is Guru / Father during the very first piece, to indicate he was up there to face the challenges of the day.

I feel it was a brilliant choice to fill in a partimadhyama rAga + AlApane to bring the twist on the very second song of the evening in form of shaNmukhapriya / chAmara. The raga, kriti rendition, and swaras (shared with his son) were soulful. As against the recent brickbats on the sister duo, the pATAntara was perfect and diction was pretty clear, creating goose bumps all around. Very well done ! . The first two songs created a grand concert atmosphere. Evidently, BSS was in fine form and with and all Bangalore team of accompanists, he was giving his best. They were doing their 110% too.

With a brief outline, bhajare re mAnasa was more a filler (as against being a main serving by other artists). During charaNa, while most artists don't aspirate the Dha - so it sounds like vadanam, instead of vadhanam, I could hear clearly it was vadhanam (meaning slain)! Hadn't noticed this subtle difference though I have heard the kriti multiple times.  MVA technically wags a finger at rAma to call spade a spade. 

Then came the second detailed Alapane of tODi. Both BSS and SR shared the AlApane as the dug tODi deeper and deeper. Modelled after his father, SR showed his creative abilites. The team on the stage, decided to deviate from the standard tyAgarAja staple songs, and picked up pUchi SrinivAsa IyengAr's compositions, that is not usually heard in concert circle these days. My hopes for a different kriti was fulfilled. 

The sedate neraval at mArajanakam mAdhva nAmakam was nice, swaras - short and sweet in first speed added to the beauty of the rendition. The bhAva was maintained throughout the rendition.

Next was a tribute to late sri. nAdOpAsana srInivAsan. His composition in kalyANavasantha evoked both beauty and bhakti bhAva. While the outline of kalyANavasantha was being sung, expected something different as the list till then was providing sufficient clue. Without much embellishments, this one more like a filler.

kharaharapiryA was elaborated in all its glory. Father-Son duo traversed all 3 registers to reveal the beautiful facets of this majestic raga. The abundance of shArira helped effortless rendition evoked awe. The prayOgAs in the madhya sthAyi showed his versatility and comfort zones in the octave. Mandra sthyAyi occupied quite less space in the whole AlApane. BSS was enjoying himself all along was evident in the smiles on his face and shabhAsh towards his son and CR, inspite of being a very serious artist on stage. It was complimented by the birds chirping in the roof almost following the rAga crests and troughs in same shruti !

Pakkala nilaBadi was rushed through . 2 rounds of nereval and few cycles of swaras directly in 2nd speed indicated that there was another main to come through. Right after the swaras the rest of the charaNas were delivered without any space for tani.

Aligning to the age old concert tradition of singing varNa and main piece in the same rAga, shankarAbharana was the selected as the main rAga for the day. Multi stage development during rAga tAna exposed the embellished facets of shankarABharaNa. It was 3rd in the last 4 concerts as main for me !! After the rAga, a powerful tAna followed with a text book pallavi - 'dasharathe karuNA payonidhe inakula tilaka' - it was in chaturaSra tipuTa (2 kaLai), 1 beat eDupu, enabled BSS and his son to engage in subtle laya variations during the neraval. No rAgamALika ensured it was pure play shankarAbharaNa all through.

The Tani that followed was true to the fame the percussion duo. Each sollu was crisp and in its place. BR Ravikumar rose up to the challenge presented by Vid. KUJayachandra Rao very well after the first cycle of long solo performance. The entire RTP and Tani occupied the pride of place in the concert lasting almost an hour. It was already 9PM by then. It is heartening to see such an elaborate treatment for the RTP, especially in days of short (meaningless pallavis and short cycles of R and T, the entire exercise over before you realise it.) I have my own qualms over the arudhi of this pallavi. Thats a topic for some other time.

The ugAbhOga section saw a new piece being rendered for Bangalore audience today. Vid. BSS rendered rAmayaNa slOka which deals on navarasa of rama rendered well with appropriate rAga for apprOpriate rasa. Each stanza began with the rasa name and it a bliss point of the concert and rendered leisurely. Vid. CR complimented the rasa in her own style. One can bring out navarasa by raga as well as by the way you present. khamAs though an apt rAga for sringara rasa, hamIrkalyani or navrOz could have been better choice. However, its the manOdharma of the day that decides the rAga. vIra, kAruNya , adbhuta, hAsya, bhaya and rOudra rasAs were delineated with grace. BSS used kApi for both roudra and shAntha, but presented differently to bring the respective rasas. ranjani for bhaya and rEvati for adbhuta was brilliant.

Further tail pieces were filled with compositions in kalyANi, shuddha sArang, sindhubhairavi, brindAvani and staple pavamAna.

The support of the accompanists was great. CR (3rd time for me in this season) enjoyed herself to the fullest, presented contentment throughout the concert. Never stopped short of what she could deliver at her best. The smiles and nodding exchanges with the other artists was pretty easy to decipher - Only music and nothing else, and that too through teamwork. The entire percussion throughout the concert was great. BSS himself kept indicating his next move, helping the percussionist to design silence as required, bringing in a good level of surprising element.

This was a concert where the selection left a lot to be desired (why not something else other than recently covered rAgas on the same platform - This is always a challenge to late season artists), but it was offset by great rendition. Choice of shaNmukhapriya, tODi, kharaharapriya and rAgamAlika in shlOka offset the wanting feeling. One thing to note was the lack of any rakti rAga through the concert. Either they were mElakarthas/scalar ones. Hope for some of these changes as I attend next concert of this Father - Son duo next time.

All in all a great evening of classical music, to be remembered for a long time.

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