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Vibrant concert by Kasthuri Rangan

Photo courtesy: Nadasurabhi

15th April, Sunday amidst several Ramanavami concerts all over Bangalore and an IPL match in the city itself, saw an exciting concert at Nadasurabhi. The main artist from Chennai, Sri.Kasthuri Rangan is an unmistakable student of maestro T.N.Seshagopalan.

He started his concert with the Kedaragowla varnam Sami daya judu followed by the traditional ganesha stuti in Gowla, Sree Mahaganapathim. It was nicely embellished by a few timing and spacing tricks. He then plunged deep into Hamsanandi raga alapana, which is unusual so early on in the concert. After a good reply by violinist B.Raghuram, Kasthuri Rangan went on to once again elaborate the raga using a grand virutham , an Azhwar paasuram, Chediyaya val vinaigal theerkkum tirumaale. The key word of the verse "padiyaai" signifying Lord Venkateswara's temple's "steps" was highlighted by using "stepwise" swaras- a very smart innovation indeed. Hamsaanandi song was a Purandaradasa composition Tirupati Venkata Ramana. Neraval and swaram were not left out. Nambide ninnaya charana, where this was done completed the wholesome treatment of this raga which is normally used only for a thukkada.

Vocalist Kasthuri Rangan along with his accompanists

The Ritigowla piece Guruvaayurappane appan was run through quickly. Alapana in raga Rasikapriya followed y the song AruLcheyya vendum ayya was rendered next. Varamu ragam (aka Suddha Hindolam) and Subramanya Bharathi's Saagaa Varam arulvaai was a listener's delight. The word Varam (boon) was slightly twisted to support the ragam's name was interesting. The composition is presumably set to tune by Sri.TNS himself.

So far the concert had a strong inclination towards Tamil songs.The main item of the evening was Mohanam followed by the moving entreaty of Thyagaraja, Nannu Paalimpa.It was very well presented with excellent swara prasthaaram covering all three octaves.

Important among the final numbers was quite an elaborate treatment of a Kabir bhajan, "Hari naama smarane kyon Chodu Diya?" with the lines sung in virutham and the same with accompaniments. Interestingly he also branched off to present Sruti bedhams at such a late stage of the concert. Other thukkadas were a Tilang slokam Krishnaaya Vasudevaaya followed by Smara Vaaram Vaaram, a Dwajawanthi version of Rama Rama Rama Rama Raaamaa enniro, Sita.. and a thillana in Sindhubhairavi.

Overall a very good concert ably supported by Sri. Raghuram, B.C. Manjunath and the inimitable Sukanya Ramgopal.