By M.L. Krishnaswami
On the ninth of April, the vocal artiste was Vid. Sikkil Gurucharan, a grandchild of one of the famous flautists of yesteryears, Sikkil Sisters. He was accompanied on violin by Vid. Mathur Srinidhi, on mridanga by Vid. Patri Satish Kumar and on khanjira by Vid. Guruprasanna.
Vid. Gurucharan is almost an annual number in one or the other Sabha in Mysuru for the Ramanavami festival and every year he has shown a remarkable improvement in his performance thus graduating himself to the top number in the fraternity.
In earlier days, musicians would start their repertory with a quick varnam in any raga and invariably the main raga for RTP would be in the same raga. That was the practice with the ever great Ariyakudi, Chembai and GNB. But nowadays, this has been given a go by and in some cases even the Varnam is omitted and the recital is started with a short alapana followed by a number. Times have changed and in many instances even the alapana and the following Keertana are in different ragas. I do not know whether this is a good trend in the development of Karnatak Music. This observation apart. Sikkil Gurucharan strictly adheres to the earlier code except in the end of his concert he sang the pallavi of the famous Tyagaraja number Chakkani raja, while the raga was Natakuranji, a little avoidable deviation, Okay!
Natakuranji, a sweet raga, was excellently handled in the alapana portion and violinist Mathur Srinidhi efficiently handled his assignment with quiet and calm. In this, he resembles the famous Papa Venkataramaiah of the by gone music days.
Vid. Patri has established himself as a master in his assignment as a mridanga accompanist and the way he quietly and smilingly handles the same instrument reminds us, the connoisseurs of an earlier era, of the famous Palghat Mani Iyer. Vid. Patri easily stole the show. His Tanyavartanam stands out as the best in the series. Vid. Guruprasanna on khanjira was adequate in handling the small musical instrument in one hand and bringing out right notes. Khanjira is a rather difficult instrument as the stroking is done with one hand and the instrument is firmly held in the other.
Vid. Gurucharan included in his assignment Mamava Pattabhi Rama of Thyagarja in ‘Manirangu’ raga well delivered. Another number was in Malayamarutha raga, Adi. His pallavi rendering was superb in its own way, including Dhanyasi and getting back to the original Kriti ‘Chakkani raja’ in ‘Karaharapriya.’ This sounds a little out of the way but as the output was superb within the boundary of the kriti and raga, this deviation, a new experiment may be ignored and a very wide applause followed from the rasikas gathered.
The sixth programme in the series on Apr. 10 was a rare Veena Recital by Vid. Ananthapadmanbhan from Trichur in Kerala, a well-known stalwart in his own right. Age has not detterd his spirits in handling this ancient instrument (the origin is credited to Goddess Saraswathi). He was accompanied on the second veena by his son Vid. Ananda Koushal, who works in Bengaluru as a Software Engineer. Other known noted examples are our own Pattabhi Rama Pandit and Saketh Ram, both of whom are Senior Engineers in the Software sector. This apart, the accompanying artistes were Vid. Patri Satish Kumar on mridanga and Vid. Rajan on morching.
Both father and son appear like ordinary folks and do not flaunt any air of highly talented musicians in their own right. This is a rare quality in the present age and what a wonderful output they gave in their recital. Mysuru was once the cradle of veena in the days of the Maharajas what with such great stalwarts like Sheshanna, Subbanna, Venkatagiriyappa and Doreswamy Iyengar, all of the fondest memories.
A similar and wholesome recital came from the father-son duo, much to the enjoyment of the crowd of connoisseurs who sat through the concert even with a fifteen minute intervention (not in the recital) due to a heavy downpour.
‘Charukeshi’ raga seems to be the favourite of musicians this time and Anathapadmanabhan commenced his recital with this beautiful raga. It was a rare composition. ‘Hamsadhwani followed with the famous ‘VatapiGanapatim’ and both the songs received full treatment. A short alapana in ‘Charukeshi’ and a detailed one in ‘Hamsa Dhwani’. Vid. Patri had a field day on his mridanga and gave maximum and highly intelligent support to the main artistes, father and son.
He has undoubted command over his chosen instrument. Artistes like Vainika Vid. Ananthapadmanabhan and son went out elaborately in the swarprasthara of ‘Hamsadhwani’ and the output was superb.
‘Entaveduko Oh Raghava’ was the next number chosen by the Vainikas and the neraval for ‘Satta Matrama…’ was well received. A piece in raga ‘Chakravaka’ followed in brisk succession, to be followed by the popular Manaviyala Kinchara in raga ‘Nalinakanthi’ which was chosen for detailed delineation, very well rendered. ‘Chakravaka’ and ‘Nalinakanthi’ were really great treats for the discerning ear and the brief spell of thunder-shower, to a sweltering heat in the day, came as a soothing gift to the body and the ear of the connoisseur crowd. A number in raga ‘Behag’ followed and was fully enjoyed. The concert ended with a short Thillana.
A hundred thanks to Sri Himashu and Sri Ramabhyudaya Sabha for inviting this great veena artiste to give a recital under the Sabha banner.
[To be continued]