Captivating Veena Concert
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Captivating Veena Concert

April 25, 2024

She is a disciple of Vid. M.J. Sreenivasa Iyengar and also trained under Vid. T.N. Seshagopalan and Vid. T.V. Gopalakrishnan. Sahana is emerging as a good veena player. Thanks to her hard work and dedication. Her playing has a good sahitya bhava as she is also an excellent vocalist. Good control on the laya and shuddha gamakas only add to it. She has a matured manodharma and her fingers are capable of expressing her musical thoughts.

Sahana was accompanied by one of our leading exponents of mridanga Vid. Yella Venkateswara Rao on mridanga and Vid. Trichy S. Krishnaswamy on ghata.

After the opening with Sahana Varna, she paid her obeisance to Lord Vinayaka in ‘Siddhivinayakam,’ an evergreen gem of Muthuswami Dikshitar in the raga Shanmukhapriya. It had frill of interesting Kalpana swaras. A pleasing sketch of Brindavanasaranga, she played beautifully ‘Kamalapthakula’, in which Tyagaraja fondly praises Lord Sri Rama, son of Kausalya and begs for his grace and mercy.

Next was raga Lathangi. A matured alapana with perfect gamakas and nuances was pleasing. Patnam Subramanya Iyer’s ‘Marivere Dikkevvaru’ was presented with a fitting neraval at ‘Dharalona nee saati daivamu idani’ (no other deity on earth is comparable to you). Her manodharma was in full swing in the Kalpana swaras.

After a quick ‘Sadamadim dalatugadira’ Gambheeravani, a composition of Tyagaraja, Sahana arrived at the main raga of the day — Kharaharapriya. Raga was presented with great punch and weight. Kharaharapriya was presented in all its splendour. A lively taana followed and a Pallavi, set to Adi taala ‘Shri Rama JayaRama JayajayaRama Singara Rama Raghuveera’ was neatly played. The Kalpana swaras were roaring.

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An artiste par excellence, Yella Venkateswara Rao and Vid. Trichy S. Krishnaswamy provided good laya support. The curtains came down with a Bhaja and Thillana by Lagudi Jayaraman.

Vid. Palghat Ramprasad performing at Sri Bidaram Krishnappa’s Sri Prasanna Seetharama Mandira on Apr. 24. He is accompanied by Vid. Gokul Alankode on violin, Vid. Yella Venkateswara Rao on mridanga and Vid. Suresh Vaidyanathan on ghata.

A concert with a vintage flavour

On Apr. 24, young Vid. Palghat Ramprasad presented a vocal recital at the same venue. Grandson of the legendary Palghat Mani Iyer, Ramprasad is certainly a torch-bearer of the Palghat Bani. He has a Doctoral Degree from the University of Georgia and a Post-Doctoral Degree from Harvard University! Call of music (which was already there in his blood) was so strong that he quit the lucrative job for the love of music. He was honed by none other than his strict father T.R. Rajaram. Music was in the air right from his birth. Blessed with a resonant voice and a tremendous hold on laya, he assures one that he is born to be a musician, rather than an economist.

Ramprasad was accompanied by the Mridanga Maestro Vid. Yella Venkateswara Rao on mridanga, Vid. Gokul Alankode on violin and Vid. Suresh Vaidyanathan on ghata. Needless to say that the team stole the show.

The opening Varna by Patnam Subramanya Iyer ‘Sarasuda’ in Saveri gave a good start with a good speed. ‘Jayajayajaya Jankikantha,’ a Purandaradasa’s composition in Nata introduced the sarvalaghu swara patterns that was to follow. It was nice to observe his selection of the kritis included three composers of Karnataka — Purandaradasa, Mysore Vasudevacharya and Veene Seshanna. ‘Paripahimam Dasharathe’ in Shubhapanthuvarali and ‘Bhajare manasa’ were composed by Vasudevacharya, ‘Jaya jaya’ and ‘Kaliyugadolu’ were penned by Purandaradasa and the Jinjhoti Thillana by Veene Seshanna.

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Ramprasad has a tremendous control on his breath. He can unbelievably hold it up to two avarthas. The intricate spirals too mark his singing. The kritis rendered are proof of his perfect Pathanthara. The Kalpana swaras mostly in sarvalaghu pattern are produced in a cascade, reminding one of the stalwarts of yesteryears.

Another distinct feature of his singing is Neraval. It explicitly combines Sahitya, bhava and Taala and above all, his manodharma. His neraval in the kriti ‘Paripahimam’ and ‘Seethamma Mayamma’ (Vasantha) — ‘Dharanija Bhagavatagresare…’ and ‘Ravana mardhanam rakshita bhuvanam’ in the kriti ‘Bhajare manasa’ (Abheri) were evidence for it.

Young Gokul, a disciple of Vidu. A. Kanyakumari, is undoubtedly a bundle of talent. His mellifluous bowing enhanced the spirit of the Katcheri.  

Yella Venkateswara Rao too belongs to the Shishya Parampara of Palghat Mani Iyer. The intricate rhythm patterns and the left hand work he shows on the mridanga are his trump cards. He is exceptionally good at it.

Suresh Vaidyanathan was also equally good on ghata. The rhythmic support given by these two doyens will be cherished in rasikas mind.

It was a welcome to listen to a Javali which is becoming rare. ‘Parulannu maata’ – Kaapi – Dharmapuri Subbarayaru was a pleasant surprise. Seshanna’s Thillana too brought a smile on the face of Mysureans. On the whole, the energetic rendering kept the listeners glued to their seats.

—Dr. Rama V. Bennur


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