Ramanavami Sangeethotsava by Sri Ramabhyudaya Sabha: Soothing performances
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Ramanavami Sangeethotsava by Sri Ramabhyudaya Sabha: Soothing performances

By M.L. Krishnaswami

[Continued from yesterday]

On the eleventh, the seventh concert was an instrumental ensemble with artistes Vid. H.K. Venkatram (violin), Vid. Ravikiran (flute), Vid. Ashwin Anand (veena), Vid. Anantha Krishana Sharma (mridanga) and Vid. Sunag (khanjira). There were ten numbers in the whole concert and the main point was the perfect harmony among the five artistes, all veterans in their own chosen instruments and the resulting output was soothing to the ear and heart.  Some of the ragas selected were Abhogi, Kuntalavarali, Brindavana Saranga, Karaharapriya, all beautiful ragas which lend themselves eminently to both raga bhava (soul of the number) and Layajnana (Rhythmic beauty) and the resultant output in all the numbers was very well appreciated by the crowd of connoisseurs who regularly throng the auditorium to listen to divine music to soothe their heart and mind. Lord Krishna (Nee, Rama also) says “Yatra Madbhakthaha Gayanthi, Tatra Tistami Narada” meaning, “I am present there where my devotees sing in my praise.”

On 12th, the eighth concert in the series the main artiste was by Vid. Ramakrishna Murthy (vocal) accompanied by Vidu. H.M. Smitha (violin), Vid. K.V. Prasad (mridanga) and Vid. S. Ramanujan (ghata).

Ramakrishnamurthy is an young Vidwan and over a period of three to four years, he has nearly hoisted himself to the top table in the field of Karnatak Music vocalists, by sheer dint of hardwork and diligence. He has a sonorous voice which lends itself to all octaves and his own youthful and humble looking personality immediately lend itself to the endearment of the listeners.

He started his concert with a number in ‘Nata.’ This was followed by ‘Ma Janaki Shatha…’ for which a detailed swaraprasthara followed. The main item, in a way, was in raga ‘Varali’, ‘Kanakanaruchira,’ one of the Five Jewels, (Pancha Ratna) of kritis composed by Saint Thyagaraja.

The accompanists lent dutiful support to the main artist. Vid. K.V. Prasad and Vid. Ramanujan stole the show in their own way.

Vid. Prasad is a veteran of over four decades and has accompanied the legendary MS many times in her concerts. After the long bravado in ‘Varali,’ a Vasudevacharyakriti ‘Brovabarama Raghurama’ in Raga ‘Bahudari’ followed and well received.

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Raga ‘Kapi’ was chosen for elaborate delineation and Ramakrishna Murthy, outshone himself in his beautiful presentation of this number with our own Vidu. H.M. Smitha, a niece and disciple of Vid. H.K. Narasimhamurthy, on violin rendering delightful support the main artiste. Vid. Murthy chose ‘Sri Rama Jayarama Lokabhirama’ for the pallavi and strode into a string of beautiful ragas like ‘Neelambari’ and ‘Kanada.’ The ensemble was a real treat indeed. He also chose a few Kannada numbers like ‘Matada Baradeno’ in ‘Kamach’ and elegantly strode into ‘Eppo Varuvaro’ in ‘Jonpuri’ popularised by the great ‘MS’ in her film voyage in ‘Sakuntala’ with ‘GNB’ playing Dushyantha (old timers like me continue to revel in this great treat).

On the 13th, the ninth concert the Sabha had organised was a rare musical treat by Vid. Prince Rama Verma, a descendant of the great Swathithirunal Maharaja of the then Travancore State, who was also a great composer of Karnatak music. The prince in his fifties came like a commoner in white dhoti and shirt and sang for a full three hours with aplomb and dedication. He has developed his own style of music and is a disciple of Vid. Balamurali Krishna. Balamurali’s special and delightful antics on the stage were particularly noticeable in the Prince’s concert.

The pleasing mannerisms of Balamurali on the stage were evident as the Prince proved himself to be a noted disciple of the great master. The Prince was accompanied on violin by Vid. Ramanujacharyalu, on mridanga by our own Vid. B. Ravishankar and morching by Vid. Rajam.

The concert started with ‘Ninnu Kori’ in Mohana, followed by ‘Gajavadana Beduve’ in Gambhiranataboth. ‘Kamavardhini’ followed with a beautiful neraval in ‘Kapi Varidhi Dhantuno’. Then came ‘Bhajare Manasa Sri Raghu Veeram’ followed by a ‘Purandaradasa’ number ‘Naneke Badavanu’ in Behag. In quick succession to this, he sang ‘Shara Shara Samare’ in kuntalavarali. A detailed alapana in ‘Simhendra Madhyama’ followed with all the nuances of the raga receiving equal treatment. The number was ‘Rama rama’ and in ‘Muni Manasa,’ swaraprasthara was taken up and the legendary Balamurali’s playful antics of raising the voice once and immediately toning down with appropriate hand-signalling, were very evident in the artiste’s rendering of this. A dutiful and reverential ‘Sishya’ indeed is the Prince vis-à-vis the Master. This was immediately followed by a Telugu number, a Balamurali Kriti, ‘Ethani Manasha Janmamu.’ This was a philosophical treat.  A brisk ‘Ramakrishnaru Manege Bandaru Baagilu Tege’ a Kannada number was well-rendered.

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The programme ended with a Swathi Thirunal number as a matter of tribute to the great composer. The accompanists, our own Tumkur Ravishankar and S. Manjunath gave solid support to the Prince in his musical voyage.

This was real treat to the connoisseurs and the Sabha and more so, Himamshu deserves thanks for arranging this concert by Prince Rama Verma. This may be his maiden visit to Mysuru and the music lovers of city will welcome the Prince more often.

The 10th concert in the series was a violin-duet by well-known Vid. T.K.V. Ramanujacharyulu and Vidu. Charulatha Ramanujam. They were accompanied on mridanga by Tumkur B. Ravishankar and on ghata by Vid. S. Manjunath.

This was a delightful classical violin programme, very well-appreciated by the Rasikas. Both the artistes are senior level ones and strictly adhering themselves to pure classical mode, gave out a wonderful programme. Their bowings on the strings matched so well that the resultant output came as a solo programme. The accompanists, mainly Ravishankar deserves praise for his handling of mridanga. The musical series of the ten-day long programme concluded with this. Sri Ramabhyudaya Sabha richly deserves the congratulations from the music lover fraternity of Mysuru for successfully organising this long programme of ‘Top Class’ classical music.

This year, the Sabha had added a dazzling ‘Ramayana Darshana’ dance programme very ably conducted by our own Dr. Vasundara Doraswamy and team. For this, the Sabha had put up an enlarged stage and had made good lighting arrangements. Unfortunately, I had to miss this beautiful programme due to a family function at a different city. I am poorer by that.

[Concluded]

May 10, 2017

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