Sri Rama Navami is known as a season of music concerts. It is believed that Mysore Sadashiva Rao started Ramothsava as a music festival and a public function in the 19th century. Rama Mandalies, some with permanent features and many with seasonal activities, vie each other to conduct the festival for many days as possible and to invite as many celebrities as possible. Some Rama Mandirs start the Ramothsava from Ugadi itself (Garbhanavami), as per the old tradition, while most of the Mandalies celebrate from the Ramanavami day.
Among all the Ramothsava organisations, Sri Rama Seva Mandali, Chamarajpet, is not only reputed but also most sought after by both musicians and connoisseurs. Unlike previous years, the Mandali commenced the music festival on Ugadi day this year and will continue till May 9, 2011.
Pleasing, but not sparkling
Nithyasree Mahadevan, who gave the inaugural concert of the music festival, attracted a fairly good gathering. The Saranga varna gave her a bright start and was followed by a fine composition "Evarani nirnayinchedira" of Tyagaraja in the raga Devamruthavarshini and "Pahimamshree Rajarajeswari". She also sang a few Kannada devaranamas.
But what was the necessity to change the traditional raga (Mukhari) of "Pali samma muddu sharade" (in Sriranjini)? Kaanada was evocative for "Veera Hanumanthe Namo" and Kalyani was attended to in detail for the evergreen composition "Nidhichalasukhama". Nityashri's concert was pleasing but not sparkling. M A Krishnaswamy, Shiva Kumar and S Srishyla, supported on violin, mridanga and ghata, respectively.
The Dhruva Foundation presented a unique music concert called "Aadhaara" in aid of "Nele", home for destitute children. The "Fusion Dreams" was a fusion concert of Indian Jazz and contemporary music led by Jyotsna Srikanth. Bangalore-born and trained, Jyotsna is a talented musician now settled in London. Jyotsna, one of the new generation violinists, is reputed as a performer, teacher and conductor and she tries to give a new touch within the traditional frame.
The "Fusion Dreams" consisted of electric violin (Jyotsna Srikanth), keyboard (Shadrach Soloman), lead guitar (Alwyn Fernandes), bass guitar (Rudy David) and percussions (Karthik Mani, Prasanna and S V Balakrishna). The group opened the concert with "Sprint", based on Sindhubhairavi raga followed by the slow-paced "Haunting Thoughts" based on the raga Sallapa. After the "Irish Folk Tune" (Karnaranjini) the "Kalyani mix" was attractive and the instrumentalists played in perfect to accord with the violinist reflecting her ideas tunefully. The 'Panthuvarali' was lively while the 'Horse galloping' was a fast-paced composition in Jazz style. The percussionists energised the rhythm and maintained the lively tempo of the recital.
The Vani Vidya Kendra has organised "Sri Ramanavami Sangeetotsava" at its own premises, at Basaveshwara Nagara. Vocal, instrumental (violin, veena, flute) music, gamaka and dance recitals by both young and senior artistes will be held every evening till April 25.
Padmabhushana R K Srikantan, the grand old man of Carnatic music, gave a dignified vocal recital, here, last week. He opened the concert with a Varna (Viriboni), customarily. "Gajananayutham" was followed by several fine compositions on Lord Rama. Ra Ra Rama, Lavanya Rama and Tholijanma suited the occasion well. "Enthaveduko" - very popular during the previous decades, brought nostalgic memories among the seasoned connoisseurs.
After elaborating 'Sri Rama ikananu' the 'Parama pavana Rama' unfolded the grandness of the raga with rich ragabhava. R S Ramakanth gave useful vocal support throughout. R K Sriram Kumar (violin), J Vaidyanathan (mridanga) and N Amrith (khanjari) shared the honours with the main artiste. RKS concluded the concert with few devotional like - "Narajanma bandaga" and "Bhavaye Raghuveeramam".