By Dr. Padmavathi Narasimhan
If you are looking for a peaceful traditional concert with no gimmicks but also without a single dull moment, then Vid. Palghat Ramprasad is the answer. This youth who is the grandson of the mridanga maestro Palghat Mani Iyer mesmerised the audience with his enviably masculine voice and traditional rendering on Friday evening at Alamma’s Choultry. Ramprasad was accompanied by Vid. H.N. Bhaskar on violin, Vid. Anantha R. Krishnan on mridanga and Vid. Giridhar Udupa on ghata.
Rising to the occasion, Ramprasad chose all his compositions on Lord Rama and made a sincere attempt to do justice to each one of them. After a crisp rendition of the attatala varna in Kanada, he quickly picked Tyagaraja’s popular ‘Brovabarama’ in Bahudari and did a surprising neraval at the pallavi, which is rare to hear. His variety in neraval development reminds one of Palghat K.V. Narayanaswamy and his swara kalpana that of Madhurai Mani Iyer. Deekshitar’s ‘Mamava Pattabhirama’ in Manirang was gratifying, each syllable clear in music and diction. Ramprasad’s adroit handling of different segments in Poorvikalyani witnessed in his long phrases and easily executed brikas was a proof of his creative mind. ‘Rama Mantrava Japiso’ in this raga especially taken up as a main item for the evening brought huge smiles in the audience. This devaranama of Purandara Dasa usually sung in Jonpuri was presented in an appreciative pace in Purvikalyani by the artiste, also bringing out the not-very-familiar other charanas of the song. Neraval at the first line of the pallavi dealt in detail was yet another surprise bringing out the quintessential shades of musical ecstasy and the listeners enjoyed it thoroughly to the last twang. Bhaskar’s accompaniment, frequently acknowledged by the vocalist, stuck to the vocalist’s style bringing out melodious joy. Anantha Krishnan graciously allowed Giridhar to play for the vocalist too, though the normal practice is the ghata player plays for the violinist. The pace throughout the composition was amazingly and majestically maintained by the vocalist, though he was at times dodged by his co-artistes to sing faster. ‘Needayaraada’ in Vasantabhairavi by Tyagaraja made a good filler before the RTP in Bilahari. Ramprasad sang a short raga allowing Bhaskar to complete after which he sang the tanam. The tanam was accompanied by the mridanga and in the latter half of the tanam, Ramprasad took to speed breaking the monotony. The pallavi set to Trishra Triputa Tala in Khanda nadai with the lyrics ‘Rajeevalochana Sri Rama Raja Raja Shoronmani’ showcased good elaboration in manodharma with ragamalika swaras in Hindola, Begade and Shubhapantuvarali, each of them bringing applause from the pleased listeners. Taniyavartanam by Anantha and Giridhara was vibrant and rhythmic.
Ramprasad concluded the concert with two rare compositions — ‘Dasharathasuta Suraga Nanata’ in Jonpuri by Sri Vanamamalai Jeeyar Swamy and ‘Haridasulu vedale’ in Yamankalyani by Tyagaraja.