61st Heritage Music Festival at 8th Cross V.V. Mohalla: Mellifluous voice, great breath control and perfect shruti alignment
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61st Heritage Music Festival at 8th Cross V.V. Mohalla: Mellifluous voice, great breath control and perfect shruti alignment

September 8, 2022

By Dr. Padmavathi Narasimhan

On the 7th day of the Ganeshotsava at 8th Cross, V.V. Mohalla, by SPVGMC Trust, young Bhargavi Venkataram gave a vocal recital with her father H.K. Venkataram on violin, K.V. Prasad on mridanga and M.R. Manjunath on ghata. Mellifluous voice, perfect shruti alignment and good breath control marked the concert.

With basics installed at an early age by her mother (one of Saralaya Sisters) and honed by her father, Bhargavi is now blossoming under the guidance of Guru T.M. Krishna. Her selection of songs for the day was good.

The very first number ‘Mate Malayadhwaja’, Daru varna in kamas by Muthiah Bhagavatar gave a bright start to the concert. Though confused in the beginning about tala (switching over from Adi to Ekatala and realising it at ‘Vasishta vamadevadi vandita) in ‘Mahaganapatim’ by Deekshitar, Bhargavi surprised the audience when she took up a neraval at ‘Mahakavya natakadipriyam’ and did swaraprastara in two speeds.

Shyama Shastri’s ‘Kamakshi’ swarajati in Bhairavi was a feast to the ears with perfect shruti alignment and the right unhurried speed that the composition demands. Clarity in sahitya made it all the more pleasing. Bhargavi’s raga exploration of Latangi especially in the higher octave with immaculate precision in shruti created a good impact. Nalinakanti was enjoyable but even as the listeners were beginning to enjoy the raga, the vocalist suddenly switched over to Tana, reminding them of her mentor. If some of the audience did not know who she is learning from, well, this was a testimony!  ‘Manaviyalakim’ by Tyagaraja was exactly as her teacher would present the composition. ‘Rangapuravihara’ (Deekshitar) in Brindavana Saranga and ‘Shobhillu Saptaswara’ in Jaganmohini by Tyagaraja were good selections and were rendered with lyrical clarity.

Before taking up the main item of the evening Kanada, Bhargavi remembered late TVS and said it is emotional to sing ‘Sukhiyevvaro’ as it brought strong memories of the music legend. In the raga essay, Bhargavi’s mellifluous voice traversed easily in the middle and upper octaves in Kanada. She needs to work on the lower octave, however. Venkataram’s version of Kanada was more satisfying. ‘Sukhievvero’ was very pleasant with also a swara essay but the composition could have been elaborated more as the artiste had not planned any RTP.

Grand taniyavartana by senior mridangist K.V. Prasad and M.R. Manjunath drew huge appreciation from both, the artistes on stage and the listeners.

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The exquisite rendition of the navarasa shloka describing Lord Rama in navarasa by Swami Bodhendra in Behag, Athana, Shahana, Bilahari Hamsadhwani, Revati, Shubhapamtuvarali, Reetigowla and finally Mayamalavagowla leading onto ‘Rama Rama Rama enniro’ in Tillang and the shloka from Kulashekhara Alwar’s mukundamaala ‘Bhaktaapaaya bhujanga gaarudamanih’ followed by ‘He Govinda He gopala’ bhajan of MS fame and Muthiah Bhagavatar’s tillana in Hameer Kalyani were a testimony to the creative versatility of the artiste.

With experience and higher training and practice in manodharma, this young vocalist will surely shine in the field of music. Senior mridangist Prasad and Manjunath on ghata suited the needs of the occasion.

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