Bhagini Ramotsava – Music Festival: A marvellous blend of melody and skill
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Bhagini Ramotsava – Music Festival: A marvellous blend of melody and skill

May 10, 2024

Some concerts please you, some make you happy, some highlight the technical brilliance; but some concerts bring you pure bliss wherein there is room for pure music and pure music only.

Mysore Chandan Kumar’s concert on the fifth day of Bhagini Ramotsava was one such concert. While the concert proved the technical skills of the artiste, it brought pure joy to the listeners with his intricate and melodious composition renderings. With scintillating, primal tones, Chandan truly sang through his flute. 

‘Karunimpa’ the Shahana varna by Tiruvitriyur Tyagayyar was the first offering. Prayer to Ganapati was through the next composition ‘Siddhi Vinayakam anisham’ by Deekshitar in Shanmukhapriya, for which an array of swaras were knitted for the pallavi. Young Gokul smilingly and intellectually replied to all the challenges thrown by the artiste with confidence. ‘MAyamma anine pilachite’ in Ahiri was presented with poise and emotive appeal.

Chandan had chosen two main items for the concert. The first was ‘MarivEre dikkevarayya RAma’ in Latangi set to Adi Tala composed by Patnam Subramanya Iyer. Chandan uses a range of flutes (3-4) to cover different octaves.

His raga elaboration of Latangi in lower notes with meaningful pauses gradually progressing to Madhya sthayi and to the Tara sthayi with different flutes showcased the essence of the raga, giving a fulfilling feel to the listeners. A detailed neraval at ‘DharalOna nee sATi daivamu’ explored the raga more in depth. The swarakalpana centering around ‘g’, was characterised by intricate improvisations and pulsating rhythmic variations.

What was most appreciative about the entire concert was there was no ‘running after speed’ anywhere. Every moment of it was peaceful, melodious and joyful, at the same time being lively wherever necessary. Even ‘Raga sudharasa’ by Tyagraja, though chosen as filler, was presented with calm and aplomb. 

The other toast of the evening was Kapi. During the alapana of Kapi, chandan’s fingering techniques producing echo effects with fast phrases was highly effective. Gokul’s version of Kapi was blissful and equally impressive. Tyagaraja’s ‘Inta Soukhya’ was rendered in the right speed, effectively reproducing the lyrics of the composition. The detailed  kalpana swara segment gave room for raga-based approach, leading onto taniyavartanam.

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Taniyavartanam by Sai Giridhar and G.S. Ramanujam was colourful and exhilarating, but took too long to conclude though. The end-pieces included Sri Vyasaraya’s ‘Krishna nee begane barO’ in Yamuna kalyani for which Chandan is famous and ‘Purandaradasaru’s ‘Bhagyada Lakshmi Baramma’ in unbelievable impressive but clear speed. This great grandson of the legendary Chowdiah is truly the pride of Mysuru.

—Dr. Padmavathi Narasimhana

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