A classical treat…
Feature Articles

A classical treat…

April 27, 2024

Sri Bidaram Krishnappa’s Sri Prasanna Seetharama Mandira witnessed a sumptuous classical treat on Apr. 25. The internationally acclaimed Chitraveena Maestro Vidu. N. Ravikiran enthralled the audience with his chitraveena recital. A child prodigy, a prolific composer, an author, a performer of vocal and chitraveena, a Guru and an activist, Ravikiran has too many achievements for his credit. He has discovered many ragas, written not just Varna or kruthis, but also operas apart from composing music for several lyrics. He has the vast experience of working with western artistes too. But when he is on the stage to perform Karnatak classical music, he is a strict traditionalist.

He was accompanied by young Vidu. Gayatri Sivani on violin, Vid. Tumkur Ravishankar on mridanga and Vid. Sharath Koushik on ghata.

His disciple Dhruva Patangi gave a vocal support.  The recital was more manodharma oriented. The opening ‘Etula brotuvo’ (Tyagaraja-Chakravaka) created a perfect mood to praise Sri Rama. He paid his respects to Bidaram Krishnappa by playing his composition ‘Amba brovave’ in the raga Dharmavathi. Bidaram’s compositions are rarely heard, hence it was a welcome. A splendid alapana with all the nuances of Dharmavathi was a perfect prelude to the grand Kruthi. ‘Ragasudharasa’, Tyagaraja’s composition in Andolika was soothing.

Ravikiran has extensively researched on OOthukadu Venkata kavi’s compositions. His repertoire is amazing. After a beautiful alapana of Shahana, he played a composition of Venkata kavi. Main raga of the day was Todi. A gamakavarika raga, its bhava is expressed through perfect gamakas. They are its primary embellishments. One has to be an expert to play gamakas on chitraveena, a fretless instrument (A modified gottu vadya).

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His expertise surfaced in the alapana with the graceful gamakas. Every phrase was time tested and dipped in pure classicism. A nugget from the mines of Tyagaraja ‘Koluva maregada’ was a real treat along with Gayatri. Gayatri excelled in accompanying the main artiste.  Dhruva’s vocal too contributed for the enjoyment of lyrics all along. Tumkur Ravi shankar and Sharath Kaushik enthralled the audience with their tani avartahana. ‘Pibare Ramarasam’ was a fitting finale.

Crowd pullers

Our own violin brothers, Vid. Mysore M. Nagaraj and Dr. M. Manjunath, played at the same venue on Apr. 26. They are very popular all around the globe. They were accompanied by Vid. Neyveli Venkatesh on mridanga and Vid. Trichy Krishnaswamy on ghata.

Mysore Brothers (Vid. Mysore M. Nagaraj and Dr. M. Manjunath) presenting a Grand Violin Duet Concert at Sri Bidaram Krishnappa’s Sri Prasanna Seetharama Mandira on Narayana Shastry Road in city on Apr. 26 as part of 108th Ramanavami Annual Heritage Music Festival. They are accompanied by Vid. Neyveli Venkatesh on mridanga and Vid. Trichy Krishnaswamy on ghata.

The concert began with  ‘Sri Chamundeshwari,’ the most  popular Keerthana penned by Mysore Vasudevachar in the raga Bilahari. It was followed by a short sketch of Raga Chandrajyothi by Nagaraj with soft touches. Tyagaraja expresses his amazement and says that not even Brahma can describe or understand the Maaya or the miraculous tricks of Narayana in ‘Baagayanayya.’ It is a fine piece which never ceases to attract the rasikas. Yet another short sketch of Saraswathi Manohari by Nagaraj lead to ‘Entha vedukondu o Raghava,’ another popular composition of Tyagaraja.

Manjunath opted for Shanmukhapriya for elaboration. He preferred to weave a magic carpet with straight notes mostly.  It is a pity that we are so much accustomed to the loud speakers that our ears ignore or fail to appreciate the subtle nuances of either the raga or the instrument.

Patnam Subramania Iyer’s ‘Marivere dikkevarayya Rama’ which highlights the ‘Sharanagatha’ Bhakthi was well presented with a fine neraval at ‘Sannuthanga Shri venkatesha neevu’ and a speedy Kalpana swaras.

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After a soothing ‘Manasa sancharare’ penned by Sadashiva Brahmendra in the raga Sama, Manjunath started the alapa in the raga Bhairavi as per the listeners choice. The versatility is really their asset. It is a result of their immense stage experience. ‘Upacharamu chese,’ the majestic gait of the Keertana by Tyagaraja was well-presented by the brothers. The tani by Neyveli Venkatesh and Trichy Krishnaswamy was very pleasing.

Their soft beats were enjoyable all through the concert. Nagaraj and Manjunath also presented a Raga-tana-pallavi in Charukeshi. The beauty of the raga was unveiled delightfully by both of them. A vigorous Taana added pep to it. ‘Bhavayami Raghuramam Shree Ramam Raghukula tilakam’ was the lyrics of the Pallavi set to Khanda triputa taala. A melodious ragamalike of only two ragas Valachi and Des was flawless. Bhagyada Lakshmi baramma was a welcome on a Friday that brought the curtains down.

—Dr. Rama V. Bennur

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