Kunnakudi’s concert: A performance combined with precision and passion
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Kunnakudi’s concert: A performance combined with precision and passion

By Dr. Padmavathi Narasimhan

The evening programme on 5th December began with Surabhi’s concert. Surabhi is a confident and accomplished vocalist with a bold voice. Her rendition of ‘Raksha Maam SharaNagatam’ Of Chembai fame by Bangalore Nagaraj decorated with brisk swaras at madhyama kala sahitya made a grand beginning. Her main selection for the evening was Shanmukhapriya, wherein Surabhi did justice to Patnam subramanya Iyer’s ‘Marivere dikkevarayya Rama’ with a neraval at ‘Sannutanga Shri Venkatesha neevu’ followed by intellectual swaras.  Shruti on violin and Vinay Nagarajan on mridanga followed the vocalist with effortless ease.

Training under such Gurus as Neyveli Santana Gopalan and Sangeetacharya P.S.Narayana Swamy, and Karaikkudi Mani has given Kunnakudi Balamuralikrishna strict adherence to shruti, impressive articulation, good manodharma and accurate kala pramana in presentation, neraval  and swara kalpana. His concert at the music conference on 5th December with Mathur Srinidhi on violin, Sudheendra on mridanga and B.S. Arunkumar on morching proved this to the audience yet again. The young gentleman’s passion for accuracy in his rendition was evident throughout the concert.

Kunnakudi had chosen hardly half a dozen compositions for the occasion. But each of them had precision, a completeness and an individuality of his own. ‘Eti Janmamidi ha’ by Tyagaraja rendered in a scholastic manner was detailed on an elaborate neraval at ‘Saati leni mAra koti lavanyuni.’  Also the swara adjunct with ‘sa’ as the central note was replete with raga bhava.

‘Kanna Tandri’ by Tyagaraja in Devamanohari was a brisk interlude.

The concert had only one ragalapana — Shankarabharana, but it was totally satisfying and fulfilling. Kunnakkudi is noted for his brilliance in ragalapana and his brave exploration of Shankarabharana with the display in felicity and pleasant aesthetics in articulation in the kriti and sangatis was beyond conventional phrases. Neraval at the charana part — ‘Veda Shastra Tatvarthamu delisi’  and the swara patterns were so intricate in technique that at times the audience were found at a loss to follow the tala.

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Taniyavartanam by Sudheendra and Arunkumar drew tremendous applause from the audience. Kunnakudi closed the concert with Purandaradasa’s ‘Narajanma bandaga Nalige Iruvaga’ in Madhuvanti in sheshagopalan style and Tyagaraja’s ‘Pahi Kalyana Rama’ in Kapi.

Kunnakudi can avoid gasping during his rendition, which is a hindrance in the enjoyment of his heavenly music.

December 26, 2017

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