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Contrast of festivities and concerts

by Abbi

Shraddha MohanPhoto courtesy: Abbi

After concluding the Gokulashtami musical festival last month, the SGBS(Sri Guruvayurappan Bhajan Samaj) Trust hosted a vocal concert by a lesser known artist Ms Shraddha Mohan on 09 September at Unnati Centre, Bangalore. The artist is at present a disciple of Mrs Suguna Varadachari and earlier learnt music from her mother Mrs Mala Mohan and later from Mrs.Sugandha Kalamegham. In my earlier review, I mentioned and fervently hoped that the Trust does promote talents of lesser known artists. Indeed, they have revived their practice of monthly concerts offering their platform to promising artists.

Ms Shraddha Mohan began the concert with Kamboji raga varnam Sarasijanabha and followed it up with Teliyalerurama in the raga Dhenuka, a composition of Thyagaraja. The Krithi Ragaratnamaligache in the raga Reethigowla was enjoyable. The raga alapana and niraval (Bhagavathothama) for this krithi were outstanding. Bhogeendrasayinam, a Swati Tirunal composition rendered next was adequate. Ms Shraddha took up Poorvikalyani rendering alapana which I felt did not have the stamp of authority. The Dikshitar krithi Saatile however made up for the deficiency. The main item of the day was Bhairavi. The alapana was par excellence . The rendition of Dikshitar krithi Balagopala brought out the raga bhava in ample measure.

The percussionists, Shri Achuta Rao on violin and Shri Phanindra Bhaskara on mridangam gave excellent support. The concert was wholesome but a bit slow-paced. Notwithstanding, it was well worth for a Sunday morning. It was a pity that the rasikas’ attendance left a lot to be desired. May be, the Trust should ensure that such concerts are given wider publicity.

The SGBS Trust concluded the Gokulashtami festival last month and the Venugopalaswamy Temple, Malleswaram began the week long festival on 10th September. This illustrates the cultural diversity within the same religion and yet the mission is one for all; worshipping the Lotus feet of Lord Krishna. The temple management hosted Shri Sanjay Subramaniam in a carnatic vocal concert on 10th September. The now familiar duo of Shri Varadarajan and Neyveli Venkatesh accompanied him on the violin and mridangam respectively with Shri Venkataraman on the Kanjira. He started the concert with the Thodi varnam Eranapai rendering it in two speeds. He then sang the Swati Tirunal krithi vande sada padmanabham in the raga Navarasa kanada which was brisk and set the tempo for more to come. His swara singing was as usual spectacular mesmerizing the audience with his vidwat. Ninnusevinchina in Yadukulakambodi invoking Lord Parthasarathy was aptly chosen as the next item. Sanjay Subramaniam then sang a very evocative Mohana raga alapana. The raga swaroopa was brought out elegantly. Varadarajan on the violin measured up equally as he played the alapana.

The krithi Nannupalimpa was elaborate with niraval Kothanda kanthitho followed by detailed swara singing which sent the packed audience delirious. The main item of the concert was a ragam, tanam and pallavi in the raga Bhairavi. He sang a sumptuous alapana, rich and classy. He touched the octaves with effortless ease exploring the raga brilliantly. Taanam was brilliant with Varadarajan measuring up equally. It was a musical treat that kept the audience focused. Whether it is Cleveland or a Chennai Margazhi Mahotsavam, or a concert in Temple at Trivandrum/Bangalore, the artist sticks to his traditional and pure singing. His versatility of singing the same krithis at various sabhas and at the same time maintaining the purity of traditions is laudable. The accompanists Neyveli Venkatesh on mridangam and Shri Venkataraman on kanjira were magnificent in their execution which added sparkle to the concert.

Another concert that has left a lasting impression on the audience.