Cool breeze of real music…
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Cool breeze of real music…

April 24, 2024

Arrival of Sri Ramanavami brings you a  cascade of music, classical really. The gift is to the rasikas of Mysuru, who will be anticipating a bonanza. There are many blessed Mandiras and Sabhas which will host a variety of rich music with all its splendour. One such revered place is Sri Bidaram Krishnappa’s Sri Prasanna Seetharama Mandira, a place very sacred to both performers and listeners. It is celebrating its 108th Heritage Ramanavami Music Festival.

On Apr. 20, famed sisters  Akkarai Subhalakshmi and Akkarai Sornalatha performed violin duet here, along with Vid. A. Radhesh on mridanga and Vid. G.S. Ramanujam on ghata respectively.

It was a concert that touched the hearts of all the listeners, with no exception. Such was the impact of that serene, peaceful and tranquil music they produced. Every phrase, every note carried this quality. Not that they didn’t play fast sangathis, they did. But so judicious in their playing! The vast stage experience has taught them to strike the right note at the right time. The result is always Bhava. The tremendous control on the speed only spoke about their maturity.

The sisters are both good vocalists and violinists too. Added to it, Sornalatha is a composer and also good at Konnakolu. The very opening Varna in the raga Kanakangi in praise of Lord Ganesha was composed by her. Be it a contour or an elaborate alapana, the ragabhava with all its splendour was unveiled in a leisurely manner. Kalyanavasantha – Nadaloludau – Tyagaraja, Mandari – Ninnu cheppagani – Patnam, Bhairavi – Shyama Shastri, Mohana were all brimming with peace and peace only. The Swarajathi of Shyama Shastri in Bhairavi ‘Kamakshi’ enhanced the pleasure of listeners as Subhalakshmi sang all the phrases before Sornalatha played it on violin, thus allowing the rasikas to enjoy both ‘Maathu and Dhathu.’

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It is heartening to note that both of them have the same approach to music. Be it Kalpitha or Kalpana Sangeetha, their manodharma is same. The Kalpana swaras are nothing but an extension of Bhava. There is no jugglery, no exerting calculation. The aim is to enjoy and make the listeners enjoy with pure music. The RTP was in the Raga Mohana, set to Adi tala (Sundara Dayakara Raghunandana…). A brilliant  taana and ragamalika — Behag, Vagadheeshwari and Kapi enhanced it further more.

Equally was a wonderful soft support on the percussion instruments by Radhesh and Ramanujan. Their Tani avartana displayed a variety of rhythmic patterns. The pure, sublime experience will remain in the memory of rasikas for a long time.

A Genius Performer

Vid. Abhishek Raghuram is among the most heard Karnatak vocalists today. An expert percussionist, music is in his blood. Thanks to his enviable lineage. He is one rare vocalist, who combines virtuosity, aesthetics and intellect in his music. He has undoubtedly carved a niche for himself. He has developed his own style of singing which is unique and has a great impact on the listeners.

He performed at Sri Bidaram Krishnappa’s Sri Prasanna Seetharama Mandira on Apr. 22 for a packed auditorium. Vidu. H.N. Smitha on violin, Vid. Anantha R. Krishnan on mridanga and Vid. Suresh Vaidyanathan on ghata accompanied him.

Vid. Abhishek Raghuram performing at Sri Bidaram Krishnappa’s Sri Prasanna Seetharama Mandira on Apr. 22 as part of 108th Ramanavami Annual Heritage Music Festival. He is accompanied by Vidu. H.N. Smitha on violin, Vid. Anantha R. Krishnan on mridanga and Vid. Suresh Vaidyanathan on ghata.

Abhishek’s selection of the compositions for the day were superb. All in praise of Sri Rama, mostly gems of Tyagaraja and others were included. ‘Palukavemi nyayama’ Poornachandrike- Tyagaraja, ‘Shree Ramam Ravikulasomam’ Narayanagowla – Muthuswami Dikshitar, ‘Karuna Elagante’ Varali – Tyagaraja, ‘Manasa Sree Ramachandrunu’ Eshamanohari – Tyagaraja, ‘Bhakthi bicchamiyave’ Shankarabharana – Tyagaraja, ‘Evarikai Avataram ettitivo’ Devamanohari – Tyagaraja, ‘Rama Rama pahi’ Devagandhari – Swathi Thirunal, ‘Charanamule nammithi’ Sindhubhairavi and ‘Ramabhadra Rara’ – Bharachala Ramadasa, ‘Tavadasoham’ Punnagavarali – Tyagaraja so on and so forth.

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His energetic singing with involvement takes us to a different level. Alapanas are studded with fast birkas and spirals and his manodharma is exceptional. It is possible only for a genius to think out of the box. Same with the Kalpana swaras. It radiates nothing but his brilliance. He is blessed with a voice that traverse easily in all the octaves. Speedy phrases follow obediently, jumping from higher to lower notes. 

On the whole, it is a entirely a different experience for the rasikas. H.N. Smitha was superb on her bow. It is not easy to play  with a challenging artiste like Abhishek. But she did play perfectly for his manodharma.

Anantha R. Krishnan, a cousin of Abhishek, is equally a versatile player. The perfect rapport between them resulted in a memorable concert.

Suresh Vaidyanathan, a senior ghata player enhanced the experience of music.

—Dr. Rama V. Bennur

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